The financial facts of life at Nottinghamshire County Council do not make pleasant reading.
When we were elected in May this year we inherited a budget shortfall of £133m from the Conservatives over the next three years.
This followed four years of Conservative control at the County Council which had seen services slashed, 2,500 jobs lost, our best care homes sold off on the cheap and £1m squandered on a new cricket scoreboard for Trent Bridge. Mismanagement, piled on top of Government funding cuts, has put the Council in a dire position.
This sorry state of affairs was made even worse just a couple of months later in George Osborne’s spending review, which heaped even more cuts on council services, including a further £21m reduction for Nottinghamshire, increasing the amount that needs to be taken out of services to local people to £154m overnight.
This accounts for around a quarter of what the Council needs to keep services at current levels, even after all the previous cuts.
As you will have no doubt read in Chad over the last few weeks, we have been forced to make some drastic decisions about the future of many of our services as a result of the Government’s cuts, which has been extremely regrettable. Whilst we have tried to apply fairness in difficult times by protecting the most vulnerable as far as possible, services that are valued by many people will be adversely affected – and for that I am extremely sorry.
Please let us know how you and your family will be affected by taking part in our Budget Challenge consultation at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget
My feelings of injustice at the raw deal this area has got from the Government are compounded when you compare funding cuts here with elsewhere in the country. The Government has targeted areas in the midlands and the north with highest levels of deprivation for the biggest reductions in funding. Sadly, Nottinghamshire is amongst the worst hit county councils in the country.
According to the Department of Communities and Local Government’s own figures, every person in Nottinghamshire will suffer a £63 cut in money for local services between now and 2015/16 as a direct result of reductions in government funding, double the £29.84 cut per person in affluent Buckinghamshire and £32.74 in Surrey.
So we’re fighting for a Fair Deal for Nottinghamshire. Please sign our petition at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/fairdeal and let’s send a message to the Government that their cuts are unfair, unsustainable and unacceptable.