We were very concerned to hear the news last week that Derbyshire County Council had announced that it was on the brink of bankruptcy.
But it was not a surprise. Local Government funding has been cut to the bone over the last 13 years by this Government.
Many councils, like High Peak Borough Council, have only been able to keep our heads above water through prudent budgeting, financial management and our alliances and partnership working.
The local Conservatives that run Derbyshire County Council have not been able to do the same. Sadly, they have made things worse by prioritising short-term pet projects rather than the services that really matter to people – like sorting out the potholes in our roads!
Children and families here in High Peak are already feeling the pinch as a result of the decision by the Conservatives that run Derbyshire County Council to hike the cost of their school dinners by 41% in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.
Between 2010 and 2020 this Government cut core funding for councils by £15 billion in real terms. As a result, many councils have had to cut services and put up council tax just to try to make ends meet.
Derbyshire County Council has been lucky compared to other councils in terms of the grants and extra money they have received. However, they have still burnt through much of the emergency reserves Labour left in 2017.
Derbyshire County Council is responsible for many vital services here in the High Peak, including education, social care, roads and pavements, museums and youth facilities. We understand that statutory services will be protected, but all other “non-essential spending” may be subject to further cuts.
We do not yet know what impact there might be here in High Peak, but we will be ready to work with them to protect our vital local services wherever possible.
Content by: Council Leaders Anthony Mckeown and Damien Greenhalgh