WITH the Tory government continuing to impose swingeing cuts on Derbyshire County Council, the Labour-led authority is determined to find innovative solutions to raise finance for essential public services.
That is why one of the council’s leading members, Matlock Councillor, Andy Botham, is spearheading plans to establish a council-run development company.
In the past, local authorities could raise income through ground-breaking initiatives like supplying gas and electricity to homes and commercial premises. Innovative ideas like that attracted major companies like Rolls-Royce to the county.
Now Labour’s Andy Botham is backing the council to rediscover the entrepreneurial spirit that saw local authorities delivering things like clean water, energy and council housing to benefit local people.
Andy said: “The development company’s first project will be to build much needed homes and make a start on replacing the millions of pounds the Government has taken away from Derbyshire.
“Access to housing is major problem throughout Derbyshire. Young people in particular are finding it almost impossible to buy a home of their own, private rented accommodation is prohibitively expensive and council housing is virtually nonexistent in some areas.
“Our house building programme would address this social need by providing genuinely affordable homes and create skilled jobs opportunities for local people.”
In addition to creating much needed homes for people the income generated by the development company will be reinvested back into council services.
Cllr Botham added: “With government cuts hitting Derbyshire hard we are finding alternative ways of raising our own revenue locally so we can continue to provide the public services the people of Derbyshire rely on.”
The Labour Group is also looking at how they can help people who aspire to home ownership get a start on the property ladder. 100% mortgages for key workers will be introduced at preferential rates to take action to address the problems faced by people getting a foot on the property ladder.
This will give young professionals the opportunity to own their own homes without facing the prohibitive challenge of saving a large deposit – which is impossible for some due to already high private rents.