The Budget: Labour Cause Real Inequality by Advancing Ideology Over People

The Derbyshire County Conservative Group has accused Labour Controlled Derbyshire County Council of “shocking brutality” for attacking key services that could cause harm to vulnerable people and high profile services by playing politics with the council’s budget.

Conservative Leader Barry Lewis, Wingerworth and Shirland Division, said,

“Derbyshire Labour have gone beyond a joke – they are harming Derbyshire residents’ lives with their incessant ideological attacks on the Government. It’s clear from today’s budget proposals and our analysis that they are setting out to grab anti-government headlines at the expense of Derbyshire residents.”

“This budget reveals that there is nothing but sleight of hand, mischief and bizarre Corbyn-inspired politics at play here. Derbyshire Labour could give lessons to the RMT boss, who apparently said that their tactics are all about trying to bring down the Government. ”

The budget reveals:

* The Council holds around £233 million in reserves, with this years reserves outperforming last years dire Labour predictions by £7million– whilst slashing and burning services

* This £7 million growth in Council Reserves would eliminate the need for cuts in Children’s Services or Adult Care with cash to spare

* A sum of £1.1 million has been identified to transfer from Earmarked to General Reserve this year. This would more than cover proposed cuts to libraries, Derbyshire Record Office, Arts services, Picture the Past, Trading Standards and Derbyshire Sport

* Public Health – second year of underspend of £1.98m added to last year’s c.£6 million totalling £8 million – whilst bitterly complaining of cuts to Public Health

This £8 million could be used to improve hospital discharge processes in Adult Care

* The County Council is still bearing the brunt of bad decisions by the Blair Government with BSF Phase 1 schools still sucking resources out of the County Council - £1.25 million this year alone. The same Private Finance Initiatives backed by Blair and Brown are still crippling the NHS

* Labour have identified things like Aiming High for disabled children, Housing Related support, local bus services, Highway maintenance and Countryside Services as targets for significant cuts – unnecessarily we believe

* Highways maintenance cuts of £1,.5 mililion are highlighted but fail to mention that due to additional sums received from government that this equates to a roughly balanced budget, possibly a better than balanced budget

* Property Repairs and Maintenance cuts are proposed of £890,000, which we assume means that Derbyshire’s crumbling care homes will continue to crumble despite assurances they won’t

* Further delays to LED street lighting roll-out combined with a policy “use to failure” rather than rolling replacement led to high number of faulty streetlights throughout Derbyshire not being fixed

Simon Spencer, Deputy Conservative Group Leader said,

“Our analysis shows that the worst of the cuts are behind us and that now it is about anti-government rhetoric led by the Corbynites at County Hall. This is just shocking brutality to try to create a story, a fiction.”

Cllr Lewis added,

“The cliff-edge promised 2 years ago never really happened. Labour lurched from £156 million cuts mantra to the £280 million one and the reality is quite different.”

“Let us take the last year and the next few years as a case in point, where the 5 year financial plan tells us we need to save £80 million. We can now project that Derbyshire County Council can over-achieve and pour cash into reserves. If over the next five years we can do that at £7 million a year, as we have this year, plus our already healthy reserves of £233 million by the end of 2020-2021 we could still have healthy reserves of around £181 million without cutting any services.”

“This is real inequality and it’s of Derbyshire Labour’s making.”