‘They are starving us of money’

Ashfield District Council has said it has seen government funding cut by over 50 per cent since 2010 from 13.6m to 6.6m per year.

A council leader has said the central government is ‘starving’ the district of money - as its yearly budget is cut.

Ashfield District Council has said it has seen government funding cut by over 50 per cent since 2010 from £13.6m to £6.6m per year.

Councillor Cheryl Butler, leader of the council said: “As it stands - it does move around- we have a £3.78m black hole up to 2020. We are looking to make £1m a year - but we are still finalising that.

“But, we have great news amongst bad news because of our commercial investments which are set to bring in £450k this year.

“I think the government do not like district councils, they are starving us of money, they are on course of getting rid of us. We are local, people know where we are. We affect their lives, we clean their streets.

“The government is sending us on a downwards spiral. Whatever project we have they pull the rug from under us. We know what we need to save - we are on track for this year.”

One way the council has said it is planning to bring in revenue is to add more solar panels, reviewing office space and buying commercial property.

We asked Coun Butler if she thought the cuts would affect those living in Ashfield, she said: “I want to say no, I am staying very positive, there are ways around it. We will endeavour to make sure essential services continue.”

The council has set aside £6.3m as allocated reserves to help meet the cost of modernising services.

She said: “We are still putting money into the community. We need to empower the community.”

Coun Butler has also said how the council’s commercial investments, including a £6m, 69-bedroom hotel in Charlecote, near Stratford-upon-Avon, have helped the council’s financial position.

She said: “They are really helpful. We have a wide spread in commercial investment, it is much better than having all of the eggs in one basket.”

She has also said the council have £15m to spend on commercial property, but Coun Butler said the local authority will only ‘spend if it is right.’ She also said the council are looking at investments in a sandwich factory and investments in Ashfield.

A survey can be completed on the www.ashfield.gov.uk website where you can have your say on what the council chooses to spend its budget on.

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