Thousands join budget debate

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Residents and businesses have been having their say on Nottinghamshire County Council’s budget plans, as the authority battles to bridge a £154m budget gap it says is caused by damaging Government cuts in funding.

In the week after the detailed plans were launched as part of the county council’s Budget Challenge, 480 people have responded to the 51 separate savings proposals, bringing the total number of responses to the whole consultation to 3,575 so far.

If implemented, the budget proposals would reduce the council’s running costs by £83m through cuts to services, 750 job losses, increasing some charges, reducing some grants to other organisations, improving efficiency, sharing services with other councils and better use of technology.

So far, the largest response to an individual proposal has been to the level of Council Tax increase people would support. Of the 416 responses received to date:

l 53% preferred a 1.99% increase (38p a week extra on the average bill)

l 22% preferred a 3% increase (58p a week extra on the average bill)

l 6% preferred a 4% increase (77p a week extra on the average bill)

l 19% preferred a 5% increase (97p a week extra on the average bill)

The proposal, which has received the greatest endorsement so far, is for a reduction in the Councillors’ Divisional Fund, which local members use to support good causes in their area. Of the 106 respondents, 82% support the proposal to reduce the amount each councillor can allocate from £10,000 to £5,000 a year. If approved, it would save £335,000 a year.

Budget Challenge booklets, including summaries of the proposals and a chance to return your comments, are now available at all Nottinghamshire libraries. Or call 0300 500 80 80.