What would you do if the money coming into your household was cut by three-quarters? One option would be to find new ways of making money to keep paying your bills.

That’s what Nottingham City Council is doing to great effect – bringing in around £20m each year from commercial activities. This cushions vital services from the impact of cuts in Government funding, which has fallen from £126m to £25m over the last nine years.

Even before Government introduced austerity measures, the council was at the forefront of bringing in money in different ways, such as retaining its own bus company which brought in £1.5m profit this year to invest in local council services.

Over the last year, innovative new ways of making money to fund local services have been introduced or improved, including:

  • Selling or scrapping untaxed, unclaimed cars we tow away has brought in £50,000 – enough to resurface a road
  • Providing landscaping services and expertise to other councils and organisation raises £350,000 a year – the cost of providing four new playgrounds a year
  • Offering a service at Central Library for people to provide biometric data – fingerprints and a photo – needed for visa applications raises £40,000 a year. That’s the equivalent of around three community library assistants
  • Running cafes in our parks and elsewhere brings in an extra £50,000 a year – helping us to maintain the most competitive school meal prices for our schools.

Other commercial activities include an exhibition of our nationally important lace collection going on tour in China, increasing visitors at Newstead Abbey and Wollaton Hall by up to 40% through developing events like Storybook Christmas and Woodland Christmas, launching the UK’s first council-run electric vehicle maintenance workshop and maximising income from our plant nurseries by selling to other councils as well as improving the Woodthorpe Park plant shop with popular events like festive weekends and Christmas Tree sales.

The City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Sam Webster,  said: “Every pound we bring into the council this way, by selling services and products, is directly funding frontline services – otherwise, we would have to make further savings to our services.

“For example, every time someone buys a Christmas Tree from our Woodthorpe Park plant shop instead of somewhere else, they are supporting services like the local library.”

These activities help to reduce savings the council needs to make to balance its budget. Members of the public can take part in the consultation for the council’s proposals for its 2020/21 budget here https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=157657468837