LETTER: Time to end funding cuts

Coun Alan Rhodes at the UNISON strike protest against County Council cuts, staged at County Hall, Nottingham
Coun Alan Rhodes at the UNISON strike protest against County Council cuts, staged at County Hall, Nottingham

Like many people from Notts and throughout the country, I am frustrated about the way local services have felt the brunt of austerity, while decisions continue to be taken in Westminster by people with no understanding of their impact on ordinary people, I feel.

I was one of the 119 leaders of English local authorities to sign a letter, published recently, which calls for an end to funding cuts and a fair devolution of money and powers across the UK.

Signatories included council leaders from all political parties, from all parts of the country – sending a clear message that more of the same is not an option.

There is compelling evidence that taking decisions closer to the people affected achieves better results and saves money.

“Efficiency savings” have gone as far as they can and further reductions, without radical reform, will result in more vital services being scaled back or lost all together.

This in turn can only lead to further pressure on other public services like the police and NHS, which are already being stretched to breaking point themselves.

The title of Nottinghamshire County Council’s budget consultation this year is ‘Doing things differently’. I hope the Government follows our lead.

At the moment we are casting a very envious eye north of the border, where the Scots are being promised a range of measures to give them greater control over their everyday lives.

It’s time to share out tax, spending and jobs across the UK on a fair basis. If it’s good enough for Scotland, it’s good enough for us.

Councillor Alan Rhodes

Leader of Notts County Council

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