All 66 councillors in Nottinghamshire, from across the political spectrum, are being invited to take part in this year’s budget setting process from beginning to end.
It will be the first time in the council’s history that councillors outside the largest political group have been involved in the entire budget setting process.
Previously, opposition councillors only got first sight of the plans when draft budget proposals went out for consultation.
However, the severity of the financial situation calls for an innovative approach to the setting of next year’s budget. After considering an initial approach from the leader of the opposition, we believe it would be in the best interests of everyone to set aside political differences and invite all other political groups to join us in coming up with a budget that is in the best interests of local people.
The need to work together has never been greater. Because of the tough decisions we have already taken, the amount we need to save is now much lower than the £154m shortfall we inherited in 2013 – but don’t be fooled, the more you cut the harder it becomes, and the challenges facing us now are more severe than they have ever been.
I know councillors from all political parties are concerned about the impact of further reductions.
To protect services to the public, we’ve asked council employees to move to new ways of working, now it’s time for councillors to put political differences to one side and do the same.
Cllr Alan Rhodes (Lab)
Leader, Nottinghamshire County Council