Today Nottingham City Council is launching a consultation on its
budget for 2021/22 and it comes at an extremely difficult time for the
people of Nottingham, the nation as a whole and the council. The impact of
Covid has been and continues to be devastating in many ways. The health effects
of the pandemic coupled with the economic situation has dealt a blow to many of
Nottingham City Council has had to make over £270m of budget savings since 2010 and during the current pandemic has had to deal with £28.4million of unreimbursed Covid-related costs in this financial year. Budget saving proposals total £15.6million.
These are challenges shared by most councils with the majority of the UKs largest cities facing significant budget gaps:
- Manchester City Council – £50 million
- Leeds City Council – £118 million
- Newcastle City Council – £32 million
- Sheffield City Council – £60 million
Smaller councils are also facing similar challenges:
- Bolton – £40 million
- St Helens – £22 million
- Stoke-on-Trent £14.4 million
The Conservative led Local Government Association (LGA) reported that by 2020, local authorities suffered a ‘reduction to core funding from the Government of nearly £16 billion over the preceding decade. That means that councils have lost 60p out of every £1 the Government had provided to spend on local services in the last eight years.’
Despite this, the council has worked hard to protect frontline services that people have valued so much during the pandemic. During this most difficult time for our City the council has stepped up to support our most vulnerable residents and taken on new responsibilities ranging from getting every rough sleeper into safe accommodation to administering tens of millions of pounds worth of business grants to help small employers through the pandemic.
Thousands of key workers work either directly or indirectly for the council, from care workers and bin lorry crews to bus drivers and school catering staff. Our key workers have stepped up to help people through this crisis. We wouldn’t have come through it without them. But they are being let down by the Conservatives who despite promising to stand shoulder to shoulder with local authorities have failed to properly fund the cost of covid to councils. As the council has a legal duty to balance its budget every year a number of difficult proposals are being proposed including a reduction in the number of Community Protection Officers, closure of one leisure centre and rationalising the link bus network.
You can read more about the 21/22 budget here.
Cllr Sam Webster,
Portfolio Holder for Finance at Nottingham City Council