Nottingham City Council has approved £27m of savings to balance its 2018/19 budget due to Government funding cuts.
Facing the toughest budget since the Government imposed austerity measures seven years ago – with the rising cost of adult social care adding severe pressure – the council has taken some tough decisions which will see services reduced or delivered in different ways.
Council Tax is has been increased by a total of 5.99% – of which 4% is down to the Government’s social care precept and extra tax raising options. The budget also sees a loss of over 200 council posts. The budget was approved at the meeting of the Full Council today (March 5).
The council is doing what it can to offset the impact of the Government’s cuts, which have seen Nottingham’s grant funding cut by two-thirds since 2013. This includes bringing in £20m a year through commercial activities such as reducing energy bills and generating income from installing solar panels on council buildings, increasing income from the Royal Centre, merchandising by the National Ice Arena and opening cafes.
Once again, the council has done all it can to protect key services such as children’s centres, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, keeping Nottingham as the UK’s cleanest city and protecting children and supporting vulnerable elderly people. It has also committed £4m a year over the next nine years towards tackling homelessness.
But caring for the elderly, disabled and children now accounts for over 60% of the council’s entire budget – meaning the funding for other services like leisure, highways and parks is being drastically squeezed.
Nottingham City Council’s Deputy Leader, Councillor Graham Chapman, said: “Not only is the Government continuing with these cuts, it is also expecting councils to raise Council Tax if they are to have any chance of continuing to provide local services.
“It has also failed to address the adult social care crisis, leaving councils struggling without sufficient funding to address what is a national issue. Unfortunately until the government deals with the issue of financing care for the elderly, this may well be the pattern for the next few years’
“Places like Nottingham been hit hardest by their austerity measures, but we can’t raise as much in Council Tax as more affluent areas, and yet the services we provide are needed more here than in richer areas. That’s what makes these cuts so unfair.
“The last thing we want to do is increase Council Tax for local people while reducing services, but the Government has really left us with no other option.”