Chesterfield council tax to rise for first time in three years

Chesterfield BC Leader John Burrows
Chesterfield BC Leader John Burrows

Chesterfield Borough Councillors have approved a move to increase Council Tax for the first time in three years.

The move, which follows an announcement by Derbyshire County Council to raise it's own taxes by 3.99 per cent, represents an increase of about six pence per week for most residents.

The County Council has itself has raised taxes with a specific fund for adult social care and the rest on other services which include education, roads and street lighting, children and family services, and libraries.

In Chesterfield the rise will mean a rise of only £3.33 a year for band A properties, and generate an extra £141,358 to spend on essential services at a time when the council faces £1.5-million of funding cut in the next 12 months - equivalent to £31 less to spend on services for each household in the borough.

This is on top of the £4 million of savings the council has already delivered since austerity cuts began in 2010 – equivalent to around £82 less per household.

Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “Despite facing severe austerity cuts every year since 2010 we managed to freeze Council Tax for Chesterfield Borough Council services over the past two years

“But the scale of cuts being asked of councils up and down the country in 2016/17 and beyond is so huge that local authorities are being left with little option but to increase Council Tax.

“In fact by 2020 the council will have £5.6 million less in funding than we had in 2010 – which is a 60 per cent cut in the money available to provide services for local people.

“No councillors from any political party want to increase Council Tax or reduce services in any way but when faced with austerity cuts of that scale we have had to make some tough choices while protecting frontline services as much as possible.”

As well as increasing Council Tax councillors approved plans to generate extra income, further reduce the number of senior managers, continue to make back office efficiencies, and to reduce services to deal with the rest of the funding shortfall.

In addition to considering the Council Tax increase councillors approved budget measures that will see the council make further reductions to the number of senior managers, saving £58,000 next year, and seek staff voluntary redundancies and early retirements to save £250,000.

£90,000 is to be saved by not filling vacant posts, and £50,000 can be saved from back office efficiencies.

Although Chesterfield Borough Council collects Council Tax from residents it only receives 10 per cent of that money to pay for services including bin collections, street cleaning, sports and park facilities, regeneration, theatres and tourism. The remaining funds go to the County Council, (74 per cent), and Derbyshire police and fire services, which have also risen their own proportion of taxes by just under 2 per cent.

Visit www.chesterfield.gov.uk for more information.