Residents are being invited to have their say on savings proposals agreed by councillors today as the City Council sets its budget for 2023/24.
At an Executive Board meeting, councillors endorsed £29m of savings proposals, over £10m of which require public consultation.
Like all councils, businesses and households, the City Council’s finances have been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis created by soaring inflation, fuel and energy costs. A challenging employment market, increased demand for services and post-pandemic issues also add to financial pressures.
Proposals agreed by the Executive Board include raising Council Tax by the full 4.99% permitted under Government proposals – made up of 2.99% Council Tax and a further 2% precept specifically towards Adult Social Care costs. Eighty percent of Nottingham’s homes are in the two lowest Council Tax bands – almost twice the national average – meaning this increase would equate to between £1.25 and £1.46 more per week for the vast majority of city residents.
Other proposals, involving a workforce reduction of 110 full-time equivalent posts, include:
- Changes to adult social care, including more independent living support instead of residential or nursing care
- Reviewing fees and charges for parking, cremation and burials, leisure centres and cafes
- Reviewing grants to community groups, community centres and cultural organisations
- Withdrawing the Shopmobility service at the Victoria Centre
- Stopping collection of household bins put out on the wrong day
- Short-term mothballing of two floors of Loxley House pending the review of options for our offices and depots
- Increasing tariffs for EnviroEnergy customers.
Some of the proposals are part of or complement the transformation programme which is underway to radically change the way the council operates.
The council’s overall budget gap is £32.2m, leaving a further £3.2m of savings to be found by February.
The City Council’s Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Finance, Cllr Adele Williams, said: “Most councils up and down the country are facing significant financial difficulties, and once again we are faced with some really difficult decisions about how we balance our budget next year. We have also looked in this budget process for ways in which we can become more efficient and effective with each pound we spend for Nottingham.
“Demand continues to grow for vital services such as adult social care, which now makes up over a third of the council’s entire budget. Proposals we approved today include making efficiencies by providing these services differently, along with savings from a range of other council services.
“Since 2010 we have had to make over £300m of savings to our budgets. With vastly diminished Government grants, we felt we had no option but to propose the 5% Council Tax increase allowed by Government, even though this won’t raise enough to properly meet local needs, and it will sadly place a further burden on local people who we know are already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis. The main Government grant for the council fell from £126.8m a decade ago to £26.7m this year – the equivalent of £694 less for every Nottingham household – meaning the Council Tax rise is something we have been forced to consider.
“In this budget we have made sure that we will still be able to offer free events for families and a network of outstanding parks that will enable hard pressed Nottingham families to enjoy what they might otherwise struggle to afford to do.”
People can take part in the council’s consultation into its proposals by filling in the survey or finding out about consultation events here: 2023-2024 Budget Consultation (nottinghamcity.gov.uk)