Mansfield District Council say Government cutbacks are in line with their expectations

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Mansfield District Council chiefs were still looking at the detail of how Government cuts to council funding will affect the area.

English councils will face an average cut of 1.8per cent in their overall spending power, the government has said.

This morning Coun Roger Sutcliffe, Portfolio Holder for Resources at Mansfield District Council, said: “The figures are broadly in line with what we were anticipating and have budgeted for. We are now going through the finer details of the figures that have been provided.”

Government funding for County Council services in Nottinghamshire remains on course to be cut by two-thirds in four years, following the announcement of the local government financial settlement.

Last year, the Government gave Nottinghamshire County Council £143m in Revenue Support Grant, to help it deliver around 500 services, ranging from libraries, trading standards and school crossing patrols, to looking after vulnerable children, supporting people with disabilities and road maintenance.

It was confirmed that the grant will be cut by £33m next year, with further reductions projected in 2016/17 and 2017/18 to take it down to £51m - a cut of 64per cent since 2013/14.

A council spokesman said severe cuts will pile further pressure on budgets already under severe strain from previous austerity measures and soaring demand for services such as care for older people.

Council finance officers are scrutinising the grant data released by the Department for Communities and Local Government in detail and will report their full findings as part of the Council’s budget setting this year.

But Coun Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council fears the ‘worse case scenario’ financial forecasts they had been anticipating will become a reality.

Coun Rhodes said: “Sadly there was no Christmas present from the Government for Nottinghamshire residents in today’s announcement - just a signal that there will be a continuation of the austerity we have endured for the past four years.

“We are working extremely hard to protect our communities from the full extent of the Government grant cuts by working more efficiently and innovatively.

“Our budget proposals demonstrate our commitment to modernising and doing things differently but the magnitude of the cuts being forced upon local government will inevitably mean more reductions in services in the coming years.”

Yesterday’s ommons statement confirmed that authorities which seek to increase Council Tax by 2% or more to help meet their budget shortfall will have to seek approval through a local referendum, paid for by local taxpayers.

An increase in Council Tax could help Nottinghamshire County Council to close part of its £77m budget gap. The Council is asking local residents their views on a Council Tax increase, ranging from 1.99% to 5%, as part of its budget proposals:

1.99% increase in Council Tax would raise £16.5m over the next three years and see the average bill increase by 39p per week

3% increase in Council Tax would raise £25.5m over the next three years and see the average bill increase by 59p per week

4% increase in Council Tax would raise £33.9m over the next three years and see the average bill increase by 79p per week

5% increase in Council Tax would raise £42.3m over the next three years and see the average bill increase by 99p per week

Councillor Rhodes added: “We can’t freeze Council Tax and let it be at the expense of even more severe cuts to vital services, especially those to the most vulnerable in our communities.

“Our decision is complicated by the Government cap on the level of increase that would trigger a referendum. We have to weigh-up the needs of protecting services alongside the potentially major expense of running a countywide poll.”

To have your say on Council Tax, the budget proposals and suggest your own ideas for how the Council could make savings, complete the survey at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget