Again, I have the fortunate conundrum that I have a number of, not just one, Champion Councils to share this week.
The first is Derbyshire County Council, which has reduced the number of buildings it uses. So far, the council has managed to sell 18 properties, raising more than £2.3 million, moved out of 23, and handed 14 rented buildings back to their landlords. By the end of March 2013, Derbyshire County Council will have reduced its property repair and maintenance bills by £4.1 million and reduced their carbon footprint by almost 2,300 tonnes. Superb work in rationalising its asset base.
The second is Gloucestershire County Council, which has won an award for its money-saving new payroll system which has saved the council £250,000. The self service programme means major savings and super fast processing, and nearly eliminates paperwork. The programme has also allowed the council to successfully offer its payroll service to external customers on a shared service basis.
Both Derbyshire and Gloucestershire County Councils deserve special recognition for their innovation in saving taxpayers money.
I would also like to congratulate Cotswolds District Council, who plan to reduce council tax by 5%, and also Lancashire, who will be cutting by 2%. This is fantastic news for residents of both areas and for the local economy.