Council announce a cash office u-turn

Ashfield District Council offices.
Ashfield District Council offices.

Ashfield District Council say they will retain their cash offices following a dramatic u-turn in budget proposals.

The authority had announce their inention to shut cash offices across the district, including Hucknall, Sutton, Selston and Kirkby.

But following an angry reaction from residents, the plans have now been shelved.

Selston councillor Gail Turner said she is amazed the proposals were ever put forward.

“The cash office is a well used and much needed facility in Selston,” she said.

“It is the only physical contact many people will have with the council and the lady who works there is extremely helpful. Elderly people and vulnerable people use the cash office a lot.

“Given that the council has also just spent about £29,000 on chip and pin machines, it is only sensible that it should remain open.

“I find it incredible that Labour were thinking about closing them in the first place.”

Council chiefs are looking to claw back £800,000 per year to claw back a budget deficit.

They say the change of mind is down to having more money than originally thought.

“Although the cash offices will remain open, the council will continue to encourage its residents to pay their bills by Direct Debit wherever possible,” said a council spokesman.

“We hope in the longer term this will reduce the need for so many cash transactions.”

“Following a range of national policy changes, the council have slightly more funding available in 2014/15 than had been previously anticipated.”

Chris Baron, Ashfield District Council leader, said: “I believe that we will be recommending a balanced package of measures, which we have adjusted following the consultation and subsequent representations so that there will be a much reduced impact on our front line services.”

The significant changes from the council’s earlier proposals also means no cuts will be made to grants to voluntary bodies, such as the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

The council’s cabinet will meet next Thursday to agree the council’s budget for 2014/15 in principle. The final decision will be taken by the full council on 3rd March.