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District council sets out its plan for 2014

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: February 25, 2014

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DERBYSHIRE Dales District Council has announced it will freeze its share of council tax bills for a fourth consecutive year, despite its budget constraints.

The authority has also pledged, in announcement made last week, that it will make no service reductions in the coming year.

Bosses aim to tighten the council’s belt and make up a government grant cut of nearly £500,000 by identifying savings through a ‘comprehensive review’ of all its services.

It also plans to recoup some losses by claiming the one per cent equivalent council tax increase incentive offered by central Government to local councils that freeze charges.

District council leader Councillor Lewis Rose said: “It is a continuing issue for us that despite being Derbyshire’s top performing local authority with a reputation for being prudent and listening to local people, we receive less Government cash than any other district in the county.

“We continue to voice our views to government through the Rural Services Network that rural councils are unfairly treated compared with urban areas, and therefore have to work harder to maintain services and balance the budget.

“In the meantime we are not sitting on our hands. Far from it. We are striving to be more efficient than ever and to ensure, wherever possible, that the people of the Derbyshire Dales continue to receive top class services.

We consult vigorously with our residents and listen to what they are saying. Throughout February we discussed out budget proposals at a series of community forums, inviting feedback at those events and online.

“The big message is that, despite the continuing squeeze on local government finances, we remain determined to deliver the top priorities identified by our residents, such as building more affordable homes for local people, keeping the Dales clean and safe and, of course, saving money.

“To balance successive government grant cutbacks, we need to make additional savings of £1.9 million over the next six years.

“Savings of £330,000 have already been identified following two reviews of our administration service and a merger of our grounds maintenance and street cleaning teams.

“We have launched a very detailed interrogation of how we deliver services to local people and these service reviews will continue into the future with two key aims: saving money and at the same time retaining and hopefully improving the excellent standards we provide across our priorities.”

The budget recommendations will be considered by a full meeting of the district council on Thursday, March 6.

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