District cannot take more cuts

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The leader of Ashfield District Council fears services will not bear much more cutting as the Government slashes its grant for the next year by a further 4.5 per cent.

Coun Chris Baron said the district’s local government finance settlement had been cut by just over 40 per cent since 2010.

And, while facing increased cuts to its budget, the council’s hands are tied by a rule which states it cannot increase council tax by more than two per cent without holding a referendum.

Said Coun Baron: “Residents want services to be there and their streets to be safe . We want this to have the least impact on direct frontline services as possible.

“In Ashfield there are real issues around homelessness and domestic violence. Making sure there is provision for everything, such as maintaining high standard council housing stock, is very challenging.

“Areas like Ashfield and Bassetlaw are inevitably hit harder than more affluent areas. We are always trying to catch up with those areas.

“We are working with businesses to attract more jobs, but we have a lot of catching up to do.”

Most local authority funding comes from central government, with about a quarter raised through council tax.

District councils run services such as bin collections, recycling, council tax, housing and planning permission applications.

Central government says the amount authorities can spend, when other resources such as business rates are taken into account, will fall on average by 1.8 per cent this time around.