Mansfield Council plans sweeping cuts to public services and council tax hike in £5m budget crisis

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Mansfield council's cabinet is proposing a “series of measures” to address a £2.176m budget deficit for 2024/25 – including a rise in council tax, the closure of some public toilets, and an increase in housing rents.

The measures will include a 2.99 per cent rise in council tax and an increase in housing rents of 7.7 per cent.

Under the plans, residents will also see:

  • Reduced opening hours at Mansfield Museum;
  • Budget cuts for Mansfield Market;
  • Public toilet closures;
  • Less funding for public events (no further details have been made available);
  • Fewer floral displays in the town centre;
  • Fewer grants for businesses and organisations.
Mansfield Council on Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South.Mansfield Council on Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South.
Mansfield Council on Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South.

The council’s magazine, My Mansfield also faces the axe.

The medium-term financial plan (MTFP) also sets out a savings plan to meet a projected continued shortfall in funds of £5m to 2026/27.

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The budget proposals show a use of reserves in 2024/25 only.

In a report from the portfolio holder for corporate and finance to cabinet, to be considered on January 15 in a public meeting, proposals have also been made to deliver a number of efficiencies across various council departments to save money.

Mansfield Museum, located on Leeming Street, will face reduced opening hours.Mansfield Museum, located on Leeming Street, will face reduced opening hours.
Mansfield Museum, located on Leeming Street, will face reduced opening hours.

Mansfield council is due to agree its annual budget and medium-term financial plan at the meeting of the full council on January 23.

Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “It has been well documented that we have some tough choices to make so that the council has long-term financial stability.

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“Like many councils, Mansfield has experienced a reduction in government funding, coupled with the increased inflation and costs of delivering services, we must find efficiencies.

“These have been tough decisions to make and we are very mindful that this will have an impact on our workforce and require huge transformational changes.

Andy Abrahams, Mayor of Mansfield.Andy Abrahams, Mayor of Mansfield.
Andy Abrahams, Mayor of Mansfield.

“We know that our colleagues are ready for the challenge and are determined to make the council a successful organisation that meets the needs of the people it serves.”

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The plan to achieve more than £5m in savings from 2024 to 2027 is set out in Appendix 2 of the report with a detailed list of proposals including; around £1m saving in establishment costs across discretionary services and leadership teams; a council tax increase of 2.99 per cent each year for three years; reduced opening hours at Mansfield museum; reduced operating budget for Mansfield market; the closure of public toilets in Warsop and Mansfield Woodhouse; fewer floral displays; a significant reduction in event funding; along with savings in promotional activities – including ceasing the printed production of My Mansfield; plus a decrease in grants and support to business and the third sector.

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The culture budget would be cut by £132,000, including reduced opening hours at Mansfield Museum, and the events budget would be slashed by £99,000.

Mansfield Market also faces cuts to its budget.Mansfield Market also faces cuts to its budget.
Mansfield Market also faces cuts to its budget.

Public toilets in Warsop and Mansfield Woodhouse would be closed, saving £25,000.

Markets would receive £24,000 less per year, and floral displays in the town centre would be cut back as the Neighbourhood Services programme received £59,000 less.

Whilst the council will receive a revenue support grant from the government of £452,000 in 2024/25 – the authority is facing “significant reductions” in the services grant which has been cut by £121,000 and the new homes bonus which is £366,000 lower than in 2023/24.

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The council will still deliver a capital programme of more than £42m – including flagship developments funded by the Towns Fund and levelling up such as Mansfield Connect, Berry Hill Destination Park, Warsop Health Hub and Smart Mansfield.

Funding has also been identified to invest in community facilities including parks, the theatre and museum.

Like authorities across the country, Mansfield is facing pressure from the cost of living crisis, inflation and reduced government funding.

Public events will also receive reduced fundingPublic events will also receive reduced funding
Public events will also receive reduced funding

Mayor Abrahams added: “There is a huge amount of opportunity for the council to deliver various significant grant-funded projects.

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“We will continue to collaborate with partners to help maximise funding and achieve our ambitions as set out in the council’s corporate plan, the local plan and the new place strategy for Mansfield.

“We remain optimistic for the future and the people of Mansfield should feel confident that Mansfield council is ready for the challenge and is able to deliver the changes needed.”

Councillor Andre Camilleri, the Conservative group leader, said: “These are difficult times and a lot of difficult decisions have to be made. We don’t want to end up like Nottingham City Council.

“However, the Conservatives wouldn’t have made some of the decisions which are proposed like the closure of public toilets.

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“Unfortunately, there is just no money, which is partly due to the fact Mansfield has only raised council tax a few times in the last 20 years. It isn’t necessarily down to government cuts.

“There have also been some questionable investment decisions by the council such as the purchase of Beales and the properties in London which it has to pay insurance on constantly.”

A survey completed by 465 residents last year found they would prefer cuts to events and leisure, but didn’t want changes which would compromise public safety.

Many residents were quick to respond to the news, with many feeling “punished” by the decision.

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Commenting on you Chad’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/mansfieldchad – Dean Jepson felt the “hard-working Mansfield tax paying citizens” are being punished during a cost of living crisis.

He added: “There are only so many libraries, toilets and swimming pools across the county that can be closed.”

He also suggested that there should be a reduction in the payroll budget for council staff and councillors.

Donna Gilbert said: “This is what happens when government cuts the budget by millions, year on year, expecting councils to put council tax up – but this never covers the deficit.”

Stephen Sheppard said the system was a “joke” and “flawed.”

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In a comment responding to the news, he said: “Poor management and lack of investment in the area.

“But the council can waste billions of pounds on new offices just to run at a loss again.

“What happened to all the money raised from selling the council houses and money from interest payments on the mortgages?”

The proposal is set to be debated this week.

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