Mansfield MP says one council for whole county is the best option for the future

You may have heard reports this week that Nottinghamshire County Council wants to raise council tax by 10 per cent.

By Ben Bradley
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 7:30 am

I thought it was worth clarifying that it’s actually impossible for councils to raise tax by that much.

The point the council was making was that there is a significant funding gap after the COVID crisis that means things are unsustainable without change.

There are several choices to be made about how to make it work, options which include cutting services and raising council tax.

Ben Bradley says a move to a unitary council for the county could save £30 million a year

However, the council doesn’t want to do either of these things because it has another plan, one which can safeguard services and boost the budget, without the need for these kinds of massive tax hikes.

Local government finances were a problem before the pandemic, but now they are even more challenging.

The answer for both the government, and the Conservative Group at County Hall too, is to end the era where our county has eight separate councils and instead bring all of that under one roof.

For a long time the level of service you get across the county has depended on your postcode.

The various social challenges that exist in Mansfield often mean that its local council finances are harder hit than other area and people have to pay more for services and that is not fair.

With one council, both services and costs could be equalised across the whole county, and if our area needs extra investment then we can make that a priority rather than having to simply say ‘we can’t afford it’.

Under these proposals – known as a unitary council – we could still have largely the same staff delivering largely the same services as we do now, from largely the same local offices.

But we can be more coordinated in our approach and reduce the waste.

Savings could be as much as £30 million a year that we can reinvest in services.

Given the choice between this new model of doing things, or of having to cut services and raise taxes, I want a unitary council.

And I hope you will support these plans to make our local services work better.

Ben Bradley is MP for Mansfield