It’s been another tough year for local people and local services, so I hope 2014 will bring some relief from the squeeze on household and council budgets.
We’re told the economy is growing again, but we’re yet to feel any real benefit in Notts.
The cost of living continues to rise, with the Government’s squeeze on spending hitting struggling families and deprived areas the hardest. At least the measures the county council is introducing in 2014, such as paying our lowest earners the Living Wage and launching a new £1m fund for jobs and growth, will have a positive impact.
As you will have read in the Advertiser over the last couple of months, the council is currently consulting on our budget for 2014/15. Due to Government cuts, we are being forced to cut £154m from our budgets – that’s about a quarter of what we need to keep services at current levels.
We are introducing many new efficiencies to try and reduce the impact, such as sharing services with other councils, a greater use of technology and only recruiting to vacancies when it’s essential. Sadly, these efficiencies are not enough to make up such a huge budget shortfall and we have no choice but to reduce or end a number of services across all departments, for which I am deeply sorry.
Our consultation on the budget proposals runs until today, January 17. Please have your say by filling out a Budget Challenge booklet from local libraries or online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget
Areas in the midlands and the north, which have the highest levels of deprivation, have suffered most. Notts is one of the worst hit county councils in the country. According to the Government, everyone in Notts will suffer a £63 cut in local services, which is double the £29.84 cut per person in affluent Buckinghamshire.
We’re fighting for a Fair Deal. 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.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council