Nottingham city council plans cuts to libraries, care homes and youth services | Nottingham #Nottingham #city #council #plans #cuts #libraries #care #homes #youth #services #Nottingham

Nottingham city council has proposed cuts to youth services, care homes, public libraries and water features in public squares, leading to the loss of 500 jobs, as part of a plan to tackle its financial crisis after effectively declaring bankruptcy last month.

A report by council officers listed a raft of proposals to address the local authority’s £50m budget gap for 2024-25, due to be discussed by councillors next week before being put up for public consultation.

David Mellen, the leader of the Labour-run council, said the proposals did yet have the full support of all councillors and the ruling group had some “extremely tough decisions” as it faced “the worst budget gap in living memory”.

The proposals include closing the Ridge adventure playground and Bulwell play and youth centre, along with the Oaks and Cherry Trees residential care homes, which could lead to a combined loss of over 90 jobs.

Charges would be introduced for the use of public toilets and garden waste collection, while water features in the city centre would be permanently closed to reduce maintenance costs.

Library services would be reviewed, and council contributions to grants for the arts and voluntary sectors would be reduced, while grants for school lunch clubs would be cut entirely.

Public transport services would be cut to the minimum level of provision, and services such as Easylink – a door-to-door service for people with accessibility needs – would be scrapped.

The council would stop producing its Nottingham Arrow magazine and would remove the budget for all high-profile campaigns.

Council tax would also be increased by the maximum amount of 4.99%.

Mellen said: “Some of the proposals reluctantly have support from the majority group on the council, whereas others do not have that support at this stage. We are seeking views of the public on all proposals put forward.

“All of our services are important to us as councillors. Like many other councils, we are the faced with some extremely tough decisions over the coming months with our budget gap next year being the worst in living memory.”

He added that the cuts “need to be seen in the context of our main grant from government being cut by nearly £100m each and every year since 2013”.

Nottingham city council issued a section 114 notice, effectively declaring itself bankrupt, in November as it was unable to produce a balanced budget for this year.

Councillors blamed increased demand for children’s and adults’ social care, rising homelessness presentations and the impact of inflation for the crisis, but the council has been plagued by financial concerns for years.

Robin Hood Energy, a first-of-its-kind council-run energy scheme launched by the local authority, collapsed in 2020, leading to the loss of millions and a government-appointed board being brought in to monitor the council.

The council was also forced to pay back millions after unlawfully using more than £40m of ringfenced cash from its housing revenue account as general funds.

The Nottingham Trades Union Council has planned a protest outside the city’s Council House on 18 December, when the proposals are due to be considered by councillors, demanding a stop to cuts and calling the government for more funds.

Nottingham is the latest in a string of local authorities to issue section 114 notices in recent years, including Birmingham, the UK’s largest local authority, which declared itself in effect bankrupt in September.

On Tuesday, Birmingham council confirmed it would be writing to government for permission to raise council tax above the 4.99% maximum under “exceptional” circumstances.

Nearly one in five council bosses believe it is “fairly or very likely” that they will go bust in the next 15 months, according to a Local Government Association survey.

#Nottingham #city #council #plans #cuts #libraries #care #homes #youth #services #Nottingham

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