Nottinghamshire County Council to raise council tax by 3.99% while putting more into reserves
Members of Nottinghamshire County Council agreed to raise council tax by the maximum 3.99% — while putting more into reserves, writes Local Democracy Reporter.
It means people in band A properties will pay an extra £39.26 a year to the council, while those in band D homes will pay an additional £58.89.
After a nine-hour meeting on Thursday, Conservative councillors voted through the budget with the support of their coalition partners, the Mansfield Independents.
Labour had proposed changes to the budget, which would have reversed cuts to the benefits of people with disabilities, and the cuts to speech and language therapy and perinatal mental health support being scrapped.
They called the benefit cuts callous, and said the children’s centre cuts were economically and socially short-sighted.
This would have been primarily funded by putting less into reserves.
However, the Conservatives argued this would lead to future problems and could result in financial difficulty.
The Ashfield Independent councillors also proposed an amendment that would have meant three children’s centres due to close would have been kept open.
They argued the £100,000 cost of this was minimal in comparison with the £28m the council intends to spend upgrading its own offices.
However, this too was rejected by the Conservatives, who said the centres were underused, and did not represent good value for money.
Mr Alan Rhodes, leader of the Labour group, said: “Our constituents deserve better than to be treated like this. They are being forced to pay more by the Conservatives only to receive less.
“Buildings and infrastructure are important, but no council should ever put property before people and this is undoubtedly what this administration is doing.
“You may wish to leave a legacy of fine office building and an archive centre come next year’s elections and you have recently awarded yourselves £28m of public money with which to achieve that, which I note has not been included in this budget, but behind you will be a trail of closed children’s centres, withdrawn services for the vulnerable, cuts, closures and redundancies.
“People’s lives are more important than expensive capital projects, more important than your legacy.”
Mr Richard Jackson, chairman of the committee that put the budget together, said the financial situation was challenging after several years of government funding cuts.
He said: “County councils can’t continue to deliver more and more for less and less. We can’t keep the wolves from the door indefinitely with increased demand on our key services and unmet funding needs that must be addressed.
“We are pushing at an open door and the message is getting through.”
He said the budget meant the council would continue to invest more in building new schools, major infrastructure projects, and fixing more potholes.
Mr Jason Zadrozny, leader of the Ashfield Independents, said: “We have 70-year-old men making decisions about seven years olds. We have millionaires making decisions about single mothers.
“The Conservatives are utterly out of touch.The Conservatives hiked council tax by the maximum amount.
“In a budget of £512m, the £100,000 we requested is just 0.01%.They refused to even consider our plans to put £100,000 of funding to protect just three centres.
“This is another example of the callous, uncaring, disgraceful attitude of the Conservatives.”
The county council proportion will be added to that of district/borough and town/parish councils plus Nottinghamshire Fire and Police, to create the entire council tax bill.
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