Budget 2012-16: Your Darlington
Darlington’s Government grant has been cut by £33.3million after allowing for inflation – that’s 41% less to spend on all of the services that we run for people across the Borough. These means we’ve had to make some tough decisions on what to spend our money on.
Last year we set a two year budget and worked out where we could save £13.7 million. We are now in the second year of that journey and starting to make these savings. However, over the next four years, a further £12m needs to be saved. To make sure that vital services keep running next year and beyond we are proposing to increase Council Tax by 1.99% in 2015 – this will raise an extra £760,000. Take a look at this chart to see how our money is being spent.
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£53.9 Million - Social Care.
Our biggest spend is on social care. This includes looking after the elderly, children in care and protecting vulnerable adults.
£15.9 Million - Environmental Highways and Regulatory Services
Environmental: Emptying bins, improving recycling rates, clearing up and prosecuting for fly-tipping and dealing with vermin problems, the Council covers a wide range of environmental services.
Highways: From re-surfacing roads to repairing street lights, it’s hard to think of a journey that doesn’t involve a road, footpath or school crossing that we look after.
Regulatory services: From making sure that cafes and restaurants in the town meet food hygiene standards to working with trading standards to tackle fake goods.
£4.4 Million - Financial Costs.
Like most councils, Darlington has a debt which it has to repay.
£3 Million - Arts, Culture and Leisure
Sports centres: We think it’s important to put money into affordable sports facilities in the Borough so that people can keep fit and healthy. From all-weather football pitches at Eastbourne Sports Complex to the swimming pool at the Dolphin Centre.
Theatre and Museum: The Civic Theatre, libraries and the Head of Steam museum are all part of Darlington’s history and we want to develop these attractions for future generations.
2.9 Million - Democracy
This is the cost of running the Council and includes elections, the electoral role, members’ allowances, audit fees, committee administration and corporate planning.
£2.6 Million - Other
£1.8 Million - Development and Regeneration
This covers important projects to grow Darlington’s economy and create jobs like the new cinema and leisure complex and Central Park.
*£0.7 Million - Housing, Welfare and Benefits
Our last consultation
We carried out our most recent budget consultation from June 2013 to January 2014.
We spent over £90 million in 2013/2014. This may sound like a large amount, but the savings we have to make are very large. We are expecting to get 87% less money from central government in six years time than we do today.
We held consultation events to find out what people thought of the services we provide and which services they valued the most. Residents could vote for these services and the feedback was used to draw up the proposals for the new budget.
At the events we suggested that we could stop providing things that the law does not require us to do - this would mean no sports facilities, theatres, museums or sports centres. However, we all agreed that although this would save money, it would make Darlington a poorer place to live.
We announced the changes we were proposing to our budget and set out a plan to bring about changes to make further savings beyond 2015:
- Special cabinet agenda - Wednesday 13 November [pdf document]
- Revised weekly refuse recycling collection report [pdf document]
- Revised weekly refuse recycling collection - appendix 1 (other local councils and their refuse and recycling arrangements) [pdf document]
- Revised weekly refuse recycling collection - appendix 2 [pdf document]
- Revised weekly refuse recycling collection - appendix 3 [pdf document]
- Revised weekly refuse recycling collection - appendix 4 (impact assessment) [pdf document]
Two consultations were launched - one about refuse and recycling (which finished in December) and one about the budget proposals (which finished in January). Thank you to everyone who had their say.
Councillors agreed the budget:
- Medium term financial plan - 2014/2015 to 2019/20 [pdf document]
What happened next?
- We introduced our plans to bring about further changes to make savings beyond 2015:
- Building stronger communities - reducing dependency on services
- Every pound well spent - getting more value for public money
- Growing the Darlington economy - making it so we have more money to go round
- Revised weekly collections are going to be introduced in October.
- We took part in a 'Which side of the fence' event in November to highlight the amount of time we spend picking up litter. We erected two fences, one through the Market Square and one through Stanhope Green. Members of the council’s Street Scene Team only picked up litter and cleaned the square/green on one side of the fence and left the other to fend for itself. There was then a big clean up.
Visit our YouTube page to view videos from the consultation [external link]