City Council’s Covid budget proposes £15.6m of cost savings in response to ‘extreme’ Covid challenges 

Nottingham City Council has set out proposals to make £15.6m of savings to help balance the budget for 2021/22 as it establishes a sustainable financial footing amid the Covid crisis.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the proposals can take part in a consultation by clicking here

The council is setting out new ways of working to take it forward for the next three years in a recovery and improvement plan. The council is committed to making the changes needed in response to the costs of Covid, demand on local services and the recent external review. The council’s leadership is determined to maintain the stability of services needed to support residents through extremely difficult circumstances.

The authority is facing challenges shared by most councils, including the long-term impacts of reductions in Government funding and the impact of Covid. Nottingham City Council has had to make over £271m of budget savings between 2010/11 and 2019/20, and during the current pandemic has had to deal with £28.4m unreimbursed Covid response costs . Despite this, the council has worked hard to protect frontline services that people have valued so much during the pandemic.

Proposals to balance the forthcoming budget include some service changes, as well as a workforce reduction of 272 full-time equivalent posts – 80 of which are vacancies. A 1.99% council tax increase is proposed. In addition, the council will implement the Government’s proposed 3% social care precept towards the rising costs of care services for elderly and vulnerable adults, which now accounts for almost 40% of the council’s entire budget.

There will be an impact on council employees and the scale of the financial challenge means that this year’s budget proposals include a reduction in staffing across the council.

The report outlining the proposals is available to view here. Some of the proposed service changes include:

• Reviewing and redesigning the way adult social care is provided – saving £3.2m

• Reducing the number of Community Protection Officers by 20 – saving £709,000

• Rationalising the Linkbus network – saving £700,000

• Limiting the number of children’s centres to the highest-need wards – saving £279,000

• Reviewing heritage site charges and redesigning museum operations – saving £201,000

• Reviewing leisure centre operations – saving £444,000

• Reducing area committees and associated chair’s allowance – saving £47,000.

The City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Sam Webster, said: “This budget comes during an extremely difficult time for the people of Nottingham, the nation as a whole and the council.

“The impact of Covid has been devastating in many ways. The health effects coupled with the economic situation has dealt a blow to many of our residents. During this most difficult time for our City the council has stepped up to support our most vulnerable residents and taken on new responsibilities ranging from getting every rough sleeper into safe accommodation to administering tens of millions of pounds worth of business grants to help small employers through the pandemic.

“Thousands of key workers work either directly or indirectly for the council, from care workers and bin lorry crews to bus drivers and school catering staff. Our key workers have stepped up to help people through this crisis. We wouldn’t have come through it without them.

“Given the backdrop of ten years of Government funding reductions to councils across the country added to the costs of Covid for 2020/21, £28.4m of which is still not reimbursed, we are having to propose difficult choices in this budget. In order for us to have financial stability and therefore service stability now and in the future we are responding to recognise the changes that will be needed at the council over the coming years. As well as dealing with inadequate funding and the inevitable ongoing implications of Covid, the council will also be transforming and modernising itself in line with the recommendations of the recent short review.

“During the year, the council received two important reports – a Public Interest Report from the external auditor and a Government led non-Statutory Review. We have accepted the findings of both reports and we welcome working with a new Improvement Panel and the sector expertise that they will bring as we work to transform and modernise the council.

“Looking ahead, the council will have a leading role to support economic recovery. We will work with local businesses, universities, charities and Government agencies to attract new investment to Nottingham. We’re determined that Nottingham should be a fairer, greener, more inclusive city post-Covid, with our carbon neutral 2028 pledge still strong and focussing on our mission to help create thousands of new jobs for the people of Nottingham. 

“As 2021 unfolds, we hope to see several major job-creating projects come to fruition, notably the reopening of the renovated Nottingham Castle, the new Nottingham College city hub campus, the HMRC regional hub as well as the new bus station, car park and green public space around the Broadmarsh site. The council’s ambition for Nottingham remains undimmed.”

  • The report outlining the budget proposals is available here
  • Anyone interested in finding out more about the proposals can take part in a consultation by clicking here

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