Council chief slams latest cuts

Nottingham County Hall
Nottingham County Hall

Bassetlaw councillor and leader of Notts County Council Alan Rhodes said the authority was ‘reeling’ after the Government’s spending review.

Local government funding will face a further 10 per cent budget cut in 2015/16.

The cut is in addition to the 28 per cent reduction in local government grants announced in the last spending review.

The announcement is likely to mean a loss of around £24m for Notts County Council, along with the £77m in cuts imposed between 2011 and 2015.

It is estimated the council will need to find an extra £33m over the next three years to meet these additional costs, reducing the money available to provide other services such as road maintenance, libraries and public transport.

Coun Rhodes said: “It is inevitable that the latest hammer blow to the council’s finances will have a further, devastating impact on local services.”

He added: “Councils bore the brunt of the cuts in the last review - now, despite having to absorb huge additional costs, councils are once again being punished.”

“If the Chancellor looked up from his spreadsheet, he would see the hardship these savage cuts will cause to real people and communities who rely on these services - services which are already a shadow of what they were because of his ongoing austerity measures.”

“Over the last four years the county council has lost around a quarter of its workforce, frozen pay, cut grants to voluntary groups, switched off street lights, sold care homes and closed day services. Now we’re working up plans to reduce costs by sharing more services with other councils and only recruiting new employees when it’s absolutely critical - but still the Chancellor says it’s not enough.”

It is estimated that savings in the region of £46.5m will have to be found in the 2014/15 council budget to be announced in the autumn.

George Cowcher, chief executive of the Derbyshire and Notts Chamber of Commerce, said local businesses will have a mixed reaction to the review.

“There were some measures which are welcome, especially the investment in important areas like transport, export support, science, apprenticeships, education, innovation and defence procurement. Overall, though, it did not go far enough in delivering the radical shift in spending priorities towards the capital investment needed to underpin economic stability, job creation, exports and growth we would have all liked to have seen.”