Derbyshire Conservatives blast Labour authority for raising council tax

North East Derbyshire District Council says it has 'difficult decisions' to make.
North East Derbyshire District Council says it has 'difficult decisions' to make.

Conservatives have criticised a Labour-run authority for raising council tax for thousands of Derbyshire residents.

During a meeting last week, North East Derbyshire District Council agreed to raise the tax by 1.75 per cent.

The council said it had 'difficult decisions' to make as a result of Tory Government funding cuts

Following the meeting, Councillor Martin Thacker, leader of the Conservative group on the authority, said: "There is no valid reason for raising council tax and a freeze to help local residents is needed.

"The people of North East Derbyshire deserve better."

He called for a reappraisal of council policies, operations and activities in a bid to curb 'unnecessary expenditure and waste'.

Coun Thacker added: "In successive years the Labour group at North East Derbyshire District Council has hiked up council tax and chosen to do so again this time.

"Conservative councillors have consistently challenged budgetary decisions and once again proposed a council tax freeze.

"The Conservative group believes that the budget is flawed.

"Examples include vanity projects that involve spending thousands of pounds of local people’s money on publicity and marketing.

"There are many better ways of managing the budget without any impact on frontline services and may actually enhance them.

"North East Derbyshire District Council is sitting on millions of pounds of reserves, with two million unallocated."

Coun Graham Baxter, leader of the authority, responded: "Raising our portion of the council tax bill is never a decision we take lightly.

"But like many councils up and down the country we have seen our funding cut, which has left us with some difficult decisions to make.

"The Local Government Association has stated that between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost almost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided for services.

"However, despite this loss of funding and the deficits we still face - £871,000 in this financial year, rising to £1.7million in 2020-21 - we have continued to provide the best services we can for our residents.

"We have also continued to invest in our district to make the area a better place to live, work and visit. One example of this has been the improvements to our leisure facilities.

"Raising our portion of the council tax bill by 1.75 per cent is much lower than some councils in our area, including the Conservative-controlled Derbyshire County Council, and will allow us to protect the services our residents rely upon."

Meanwhile, Bolsover District Council has also agreed to increase council tax by 2.99 per cent for a band D property.