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COUNCIL BUDGET 2014: Council to ‘press’ ahead with vast majority of proposals’ despite public consultation

Coun David Kirkham, chairman of finance and property committee at Notts County Council with the Budget Challenge discussed on Monday

Coun David Kirkham, chairman of finance and property committee at Notts County Council with the Budget Challenge discussed on Monday

A leading councillor admitted during this morning’s session of the budget meeting that Nottinghamshire County Council will be forced to ‘press ahead with the vast majority’ of cuts to help bridge the huge cash deficit.

The authority needs to find £154m worth of savings over the next three years, and despite 38,000 people speaking out during a recent public consultation, chairman of the finance and property committee, Sutton’s David Kirkham, said it was ‘regrettable’ that many of the initial proposals have remained.

During his opening speech in the council chamber at county hall this morning, he said: “Local government has borne the brunt of the savage cuts to public spending since 2010, and whilst we would point to the way in which those cuts have been distributed as being unfair to Nottinghamshire, it goes without saying that every local authority across the country is facing similar challenges.

“Regrettably, we have not been able to change many of the proposals that we have been consulting on since November.

“The scale of the financial challenge is so great, that we simply have little choice but to press ahead with the vasty majority of them.”

As part of the cuts, more than 750 council jobs are being put at risk, while services across the board are to be affected, including bus services, libraries and adult and child services.

Council tax is also proposed to be increased by 1.99 per cent.

However, Conservative spokesman for finance, Coun Reg Adair, hit out at Labour’s budget proposals saying council tax should have been frozen.

He also said children’s centres, youth clubs, day centres and household recycling centres should all remain open.

He put forward an alternative

He described the Labour proposals were a ‘sham’ and should be taken ‘with a pinch of salt’, adding: “They have been scraping around like headless chickens saving pennies, instead of pounds, and targeting the wrong areas.”

The meeting continues and the budget will be set by the end of the day.

 

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