Austerity isn’t over for Nottingham, with the City Council’s main Government funding slashed by three quarters since 2013 – plummeting from £127m to just £25m for the forthcoming year.
On top of this financial blow, the Government is once again demanding that councils reduce their budgets to help address the national debt – meaning the City Council is looking to agree £22m of savings to balance its 2019/20 budget, by reducing or changing the way some services are delivered.
This places greater burden on the money raised through Council Tax to fund council services – with a squeeze on all other services when 70% of the entire budget is now committed to children’s services and adult social care. It’s therefore proposed that Council Tax is increased by 2.99%.
The Government is expecting additional increases in Council Tax to fund the police on top of previous increases to meet rising demands for adult social care. This has added an extra £146 to a Band D Council Tax bill in Nottingham over the last four years.
As in previous years, the council is doing what it can to offset the impact of the Government’s cuts. This includes bringing in over £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 and opening cafes. 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.
Some of the proposed savings over the next three years being discussed by the council’s Executive Board on Tuesday 18 December are:
- 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.
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.
“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.
“However, we do 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.”
Consultation is now underway on these proposals – have your say by completing this survey: https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=154506323282