Council reveals ‘devastating cuts’

Derbyshire residents face “devastating” cuts – as the county council reveals it must cut a third of its spending.

Ten per cent of the authority’s workforce – 1,600 jobs – will be axed, facilities lost and all services affected as Derbyshire County Council struggle to meet Government spending cuts of £157m over the next five years.

Chief executive Ian Stephenson said: “This is unprecedented. Nobody ever expected anything to this degree.

“Given the scale of the cuts we aren’t going to be able to protect services. There will be cuts.”

He added: “In living memory I can’t remember anything as bad as this, not since the Great Depression.”

The authority needs to make £47.2 million of savings in 2014/15.

Proposals on how the council will meet the shortfall were revealed on Tuesday.

They include widespread reductions in management, a cut in overhead costs at county hall, increased charges for services, the closure of some centres, subsidies to some services could end and grants to voluntary organisations reduced.

Mr Stephenson said he felt Derbyshire was being unfairly targeted but added the council would do all it could to minimise the impact of the cuts. He said: “We will get through to 2018 but the council will be leaner.”

Council leader Anne Western said: “We are faced with making devastating cuts to our services.

“Important local services will be lost as a direct result of these cuts and £157m will be taken out of the local economy.”

She added: “We requested a meeting with Eric Pickles MP Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government but he has refused to meet us.

“It is important he fully understands the impact these Government cuts will have on communities across Derbyshire.”

Every area of council spending faces being cut under the new austerity measures.

Only the council’s education budgety was exempt from the cuts.