Thousands have their say on county council budget cuts

Future service users of the White Water Day Centre in Ollerton, and their parents and carers, are disappointed with the proposals by Nottinghamshire County Council to close it down.
Future service users of the White Water Day Centre in Ollerton, and their parents and carers, are disappointed with the proposals by Nottinghamshire County Council to close it down.

Residents and businesses have been having their say on Nottinghamshire County Council’s budget plans, as the authority battles to bridge a £154m budget gap.

Just a week after the detailed plans were launched as part of the county council’s budget challenge, 480 people have responded to the 51 separate savings proposals, bringing the total number of responses to the whole consultation to more than 3,575 so far.

If implemented, the budget proposals would slash the council’s running costs by £83m through cuts to services, 750 job losses, increasing some charges, reducing 
some grants to other organisations, improving efficiency, sharing services with other councils and better use of technology.

Among the areas most commented on is council tax, in which more than 52 per cent of people have said a 1.99 per cent rise on tax would be the most acceptable, rather than an even greater increase.

Other notable areas include the councillors’ divisional funds - money councillors are permitted to support causes in their area - which is to be cut from £10,000 a year to £5,000. More than 82 percent agreed with the idea. A further well-supported change is the increase of disabled parking blue badges from £2 to £10, which 80 per cent agreed with.

The greatest opposition has been to proposed changes to employment services for people with learning difficulties, where around 50 per cent have objected.

Coun Alan Rhodes, leader of the council, said: “To have over 3,500 responses to the budget challenge already is testament to how much people care about and value their services. This is a genuine consultation - we want to hear how people are likely to be affected and about viable alternatives to any of the service reductions.

“When drawing up our plans we’ve tried to apply fairness in difficult times and avoid an impact on the most vulnerable as far as we possibly can, but I appreciate that is little consolation for those service users and employees who are affected - and for that I am deeply sorry.”

The consultation closes on 17th January. All views given during the consultation will be taken into consideration before the final budget is considered on 27th February.

To read the budget proposals and register views, go to the website www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget