Jobs set to go as axe falls at Nottinghamshire County Council

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Nearly 200 jobs are set to go at Nottinghamshire County Council as council chiefs swing the axe to try and balance the books.

Extensive cost-cutting measures are set to be consulted on because the authority has to reduce its spending by at least £62 million over the next three years due to cuts in Government funding and an increase in demand for social care services.

Cuts are being made to a number of services while staff reductions, recommissioning contracts and implementing new technology are other ways that the council proposes to save cash,

Exactly 182.21 full-time equivalent roles are potentially at risk of redundancy, though 75.32 of these are already vacant.

Members from the four political groups on the council have worked together to develop the new budget proposals for 2016/17, which will now go out for public consultation.

Among the 58 savings proposals are:

Scrapping school buses where there is no statutory requirement to provide them, saving £770,000. A discretionary hardship fund will be set up to support affected families.

Saving £1m by encouraging adults in supported living to live more independently. This will see a reduction in support hours where appropriate by sharing support with other service users or replacing night time support with technology such as sensors and monitors.

Changes to adult social care transport - including cutting the budget by £150,000; increasing the cost of transport for those attending adult social care services; only continuing the service for those who cannot travel independently or do not already receive transport funding.

Withdrawing funding for the County Sports Partnership, saving £108,000.

Moving 80 younger adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities or mental health needs out of residential care and into specialist supported living or housing with outreach support.

Reducing the number of mobile youth facilities from five to three to save £98,000.

Renegotiate the funding given to local bus companies for the concessionary fare scheme as part of £579,000 of savings in transports and travel services.

Councillor Alan Rhodes, the leader of the county council and of the Labour group, said that where possible, savings are being made through new, creative ways of delivering services to avoid service cuts and closures.

“We are once again proposing to increase our use of new technology and develop other creative, innovative options for the way we deliver services in the future to reduce the impact of savings on our services,” he said.

“However the sustained financial pressures

on the council means that some service reductions are unavoidable, which I deeply regret.”

Many of the savings proposals suggest saving money by either reducing staffing, recommissioning contracts or using new technology to drive efficiency and deliver savings.

The council is also set to consider putting up its share of council tax.

Councils are allowed to put up bills by two per cent each year and following last week’s Autumn Statement, they are also permitted to add a further two per cent increase to fund social care.

However the council’s capital programme will also see £80 invested in major

infrastructure projects including:

£18.8m to create new school places and £9.7m on refurbishing school buildings

£13.6m on major road maintenance and renewal

£11.7m on Living At Home schemes to help older people live independently in their own homes for longer

£2.8m towards the on-going roll-out of superfast broadband.

Coun Rhodes said: “Despite the difficult financial position, it is essential that we continue to invest in the new schools, roads, care facilities, broadband and other amenities that Nottinghamshire residents need.

“As well as improving the quality of life for local people, we’re investing our capital expenditure smartly to

reduce the Council’s overall running costs and further ease the financial pressure on our services.”

The council has already saved £67m over the last two years, with £33m in savings previously agreed due to be implemented next year.

These new budget proposals are in addition to these.