By Councillor Ranjit Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council.
Yesterday (Wednesday 23 November) The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced his government’s taxation and spending plans, which will have a significant impact on how this Council delivers its services to those who depend upon it.
The announcement confirmed that public sector spending will be cut by the extra £3.5 billion previously announced. What this means for Derby will not be known until we receive our financial settlement.
These cuts will affect spending decisions that affect vulnerable people and the most deprived areas in our city. Since 2010, we have been forced to cut £116 million from our budget, with another £45 million to be found by 2018.
The city needs funding support that will allow its people to flourish and prosper – through increased funding to social care, affordable housing and the continued growth and development of our infrastructure. Our roads and railways need to be better connected to neighbouring towns and cities to attract more investment and increase job prospects.
The Chancellor announced that there will be an extra £1.1 billion invested in English Transport Networks, £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund for up to 100,000 new homes in high demand areas, more than £1 billion for broadband and 5G.
He announced a £1 billion increase in spending on benefits for people who are in work, with claimants on Universal Credit allowed to keep 2p more over every pound they earn in a move to help people who Teresa May’s Government has dubbed ‘jams’, meaning Just about managing.
Although I was pleased to hear that the HS2 Toton Hub project will go-ahead, frankly these investments don’t go far enough.
The Chancellor promises ‘fiscal headroom’ to support the economy through Brexit. He says the Government resolves to confront those challenges head on. The uncertainty Brexit brings affects the Council’s spending plans and the financial position of our residents.
Our children and young people continue to grow-up in a society where austerity reigns. Jobs are fewer and the demand for apprenticeships outweighs the supply. Higher education is getting unaffordable and social mobility for those who want to better their lives is getting harder.
The Labour administration at Derby City Council re-launched ‘A Fair Deal for Derby’ campaign calling on the Government for a fairer statement. I would like to see the social care funding crisis in local government addressed so that we can deliver our services to the people. This is an issue that the Council has been lobbying for a long time. We will continue shouting for the people of Derby until our voice is heard.