Nottingham City Council’s annual budget meeting has today (4 March) approved proposals to make £23m of savings in 2019/20 after another year of drastic Government cuts.
The Government slashed the council’s main grant by £10m in the last year alone – meaning it has fallen from £127m in 2013 to just £25m for the forthcoming year.
Independent analysis has shown that places like Nottingham with higher deprivation have been hit harder by the Government’s funding cuts than better-off areas like Surrey. This places greater burden on the money raised through Council Tax to fund council services – but with most properties in lower Council Tax bands, Nottingham cannot raise enough to plug the gap this way, even with the 2.99% increase that’s been agreed.
Instead the meeting of full council has agreed £23m of savings for the year ahead. These include:
- Reducing the number of Link Bus services
- Increasing some charges for council services
- A range of changes to adult social care
- Reducing contributions to the NGY youth centre
- An initial reduction of around 27 jobs, with more likely.
The council is also continuing to carry out a range of commercial activities which bring in over £20m a year to offset the cuts. Key services that many councils are cutting are being protected as much as possible, including children’s centres and libraries, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, keeping the city clean, protecting children and supporting vulnerable elderly people. The council is also continuing its commitment to tackle homelessness.
Nottingham City Council Leader, Councillor Jon Collins, said: “The Government is once again drastically reducing the amount of money it provides for council services in Nottingham, and expecting local people to contribute more through their Council Tax. We don’t want to increase Council Tax but the Government has left us with no other option if we are going to continue providing vital local services, especially with 70% of our budget now going on adult social care and children’s services.
“This is the tenth budget in a row where we have been faced with major cuts in funding. Since 2010/11 Nottingham’s core settlement from government has fallen by £145m – that’s the equivalent of £529 taken from each household in the city.
“What makes this worse and totally unfair is the blatant favouring by Government of Conservative-led councils in affluent southern areas which have received much more in grants despite areas like Nottingham needing it more. They have also received special grants to soften the blow of cuts which places like Nottingham need more but missed out on altogether. It means setting this budget has been extremely difficult and we don’t take any pleasure in making decisions which detrimentally affect local service users.
“Nevertheless, we continue to do our absolute best with what we have and to use our resources to the maximum.
“We remain ambitious for Nottingham and so wherever possible we are finding ways to invest in the city’s future, through improved education, training and job opportunities, key capital projects that bring growth and prosperity and enriching our local communities with better housing, transport and affordable leisure activities.”