The Council’s Cabinet meets today (Wednesday 23rd January) and top of the agenda is to finalise the budget for 2013/14 to 2015/16, so that we can put the proposals to all councillors in a week’s time.
We’ve spent a lot of time weighing up the feedback from the public consultation. We had over 600 comments, so thank you to everyone who contributed.
As you might expect, most of the comments relate to things that are being cut. People naturally don’t want you to stop delivering a service they passionately believe in; the problem is that they are more reluctant to say where else they would make cuts to save the money.
That’s understandable, I suppose, but the Cabinet doesn’t have that luxury. We have to save £62 million and, while we have made some changes as a result of people’s feedback, and have huge sympathy for many of the arguments being put forward, there’s very little room for manoeuvre. When someone says to me, “we only want £20,000,” I have to remind them that £20K could cost someone their job elsewhere in the Council.
Overall, then, I can tell you that many of the proposals we originally consulted on will be taken to the Full Council meeting on 30th January.
As I’ve said before, I won’t be commending this budget to Full Council. It’s some consolation that we’re keeping libraries, and children’s centres open, and putting £2.5m into adult social care, as well as extra money into some neighbourhood services – but not much consolation. We’ve had to make some very tough decisions, and we’ve tried to do it in the fairest way possible.
But this is not what I came into politics to do. I want to improve services and service delivery for the people of Derby, and ensure we have a thriving city with jobs and opportunities for all.