Roger Busli suggests that certain Nottinghamshire County Council services and jobs “could have stayed” if the Conservatives had increased council tax.
He overlooks the fact that when we won control of County Hall, Nottinghamshire council tax was already higher than any other shire county. It was (and still is) unreasonable to expect residents to pay more.
In simple terms the council in 2009 was employing too many people, duplicating services already provided by others and delivering its most critical services in a Labour intensive, inefficient way. We changed this but, contrary to Labour mythology, very few people were made compulsorily redundant. Vacant posts were deleted and a number of employees took the offer of voluntary redundancy or early retirement. We also redeployed staff to use their skills elsewhere within the organisation.
Mr Busli suggests that we should not have turned off streetlights, yet the public identified this as their preferred way of saving money in our budget consultation. We concluded that switching off or dimming lights in the small hours was better than reducing other services (and jobs). Crime did not increase in the areas where we switched off lights and it was never our policy to do this in high crime areas like Worksop. By abandoning our part-night lighting project, Labour have only succeeded in halving the potential savings and will now have to find this money either by cutting other services (and jobs) or increasing council tax.
Mr Busli finally suggests that Nottinghamshire should save money by having fewer county councillors. The Conservatives proposed a reduction from 63 to 55 councillors to the Boundary Commission 10 years ago. We demonstrated that this would provide better value, but we were outvoted by Labour Councillors who succeeded in increasing the number of councillors to 67, which remains the number today.
Councillor Mrs Kay Cutts
Conservative Group Leader
County Councillor for