Response to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Cllr Russell FDFD

“Eric Pickles’ claim that Derby City Council should use its reserves to help reduce the impact of budget cuts is not only wildly misleading, but also gives a horrifying insight into the Government’s misunderstanding of local authority budgets.

The £81m quoted by Mr Pickles is pure fantasy. We are predicting that at the end of this financial year we will have around £18m of unallocated reserves.  All other monies held are already allocated to on-going costs and managing financial risk; they cannot be used for any other purpose.

Is Mr Pickles, a former council leader himself, seriously suggesting it would be good financial management to spend that money on balancing the budget, leaving the council penniless should we encounter any unforeseen costs?

The council’s revenue reserves are at their lowest possible level without undermining the budget.

To spend them on standing up services now would be an unsustainable, one-year solution, which would not help to reduce the pressure on services next year but would instead place the Council at unacceptable risk.

The Council is pleased, however, that Mr Pickles has recognised that the Government’s cuts are ruining services and damaging communities.

We will be writing to Mr Pickles to clarify the financial situation, and would welcome any help his Government can give now he realises that the Authority is tens of millions worse off than he had evidently thought.”

Councillor Sarah Russell, Cabinet Member for Housing, Finance and Welfare.


Join in with the Big Conversation

Due to cuts in government funding and rising costs of providing services, the Council has to save £69 million over the next three years. It’s unlikely we’ll be able to afford to provide all our current services running in every home, organisation and business across Derby.

To try and overcome these challenges we think it’s important to get you, the people of Derby, actively involved and having your say. We’re therefore launching a consultation called the Big Conversation as our way to get everyone talking. This is a partnership between public, private, voluntary and faith organisations as well as our many diverse communities.

We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to influence these decisions by inviting you to tell us which services are the most important to you, your family and your community.

To do this we’re giving you the opportunity to understand where the Council currently spends its money and decide where you think less should be spent to save £69 million.

We encourage everyone to have their say on the future of the Council and would welcome your views and feedback at any stage as we continue our Big Conversation – please make your views count.

Head to the Your Money Your Views budget simulator and find out more about the events we will be holding over the next six months. For more information on this please email

Take part in our Online Budget Simulator

Our online budget simulator is your chance to take a look at our budget alongside all the services we offer and decide where you think we should be saving money.

Simply head over to our online budget simulator and follow the guidance below:

  1. Your challenge is to balance the Council’s overall budget by £60m by setting your budget for services and raising fees, charges and Council Tax
  2. At the start you will be presented with a list of Council service areas. For each area you can choose to increase funding by 10%, keep the funding at the same level, or decrease it by 10%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%
  3. The consequences of each change in funding are displayed in summary or in detail when you press the ’more information’ button – this will help you make your decision
  4. In addition, you will see options for Income Fees and Charges and Council Tax. By clicking on these, you can choose to increase specific income, fees and charges or Council Tax. The impact will be displayed in the consequence box.
  5. As you make your decisions, you will see the total expenses and the overspend at the top of the screen to see how far away you are from balancing the budget. Once you have achieved a set level of savings you will be able to ‘review and submit’ your budget
  6. Your opinions matter so please help us by telling us where you would spend the money!