Nottinghamshire County Council authority leaders say finances are in reasonable position despite budget challenges
Nottinghamshire County Council’s finances are in a ‘reasonable position’, leaders say, despite an estimated £60m deficit over the next three years.
The cabinet meeting today (November 9) sent an optimistic message with officers saying they were better placed to deal with turbulent financial waters than most other authorities across the county.
Some cabinet members also hit out at media who had scrutinised council finances.
Inflation, rising costs, and an increase in social care expenses mean the local authority is currently estimated to spend £60.2m more than it brings in over the three financial years to 2026/27.
But senior councillors are hopeful that the gap will be bridged.
Leader councillor Ben Bradley said: “We’re in a reasonable position given the challenges everyone is facing. We are managing the situation well.
“Every year we talk about how difficult its [to balance the budget], then we get the grants and government funding, and every year we get the difference to zero.”
The council is currently £700,000 over budget for this financial year to date, just over 0.1 per cent of its annual budget, according to a report presented to the meeting.
Councillor Richard Jackson, cabinet member for Finance, praised officers for keeping low given financial pressures.
“You don’t have to look far to see a council that’s predicting a £46m overspend in the current year,” he said, referring to Derbyshire County Council.
However, councillor Keith Girling said the budget-setting process creates media interest when they don’t understand the finances of the council.
He praised council predictions, saying: “Other councils have made poor assumptions and got in a mess.
“You can look at districts and boroughs within Nottinghamshire.”
Cllr Bradley said: “When you’re working on a budget of over £1bn, it’s always impressive to come within one per cent of your estimate.”
Deputy leader Councillor Bruce Laughton (Con) also criticised media coverage, saying: “It’s disappointing how people jump in to try and fuel the fire.
“It sends message to the Nottinghamshire public of something that’s not there – it’s patently untrue.”
Nottinghamshire residents have until Sunday, November 12 to take part in the council’s online consultation on next year’s budget.