Category: Local News

Autumn statement gives nothing for Nottingham’s schools or social care sector

An autumn statement that says nothing on schools or social care is not an autumn statement preparing Nottingham for the future but one that is ignoring the real problems cities like ours face.

The Chancellor has missed the chance to invest in the skills and potential of Nottingham’s young people and has shown no vision to deal with the rising level of demand in adult and child social care that is pushing the City Councils finances to the limit.

The Government’s education funding formula this summer would see Nottingham’s schools lose £22 million in real terms, which is over £500 per pupil. Taking this amount of money away from Nottingham’s schools will result in overcrowded classrooms that are not properly equipped, damaging the life chances of Nottingham’s young people. An autumn statement that was serious about preparing Britain for the future would be giving schools in Nottingham more money so that we can give our young people the skills need in the future job market.

In social care the government has revealed how unaware it is of the biggest challenge Britain is going to face. There is currently a £2 billion funding gap in social care and by not committing any extra funding in the Autumn Statement the Chancellor is making that gap worse. Demand is rising as we become and older population. In 2039, the number of people aged 75 and over will be 9.9 million. A Government preparing for the future should be making the proper funding of social care its number one priority.

Along with this, there is no relief for Council budgets. Since 2010, the Government has taken £200 million from Nottingham, which has resulted in Nottingham people paying more for fewer services. Seven years of cuts to councils like Nottingham has not helped pay down Britain’s debt either, as the Government is set to add an extra £90 billion worth of debt over the life of this Parliament. To add to this the Conservatives are damaging Britain’s economic success and growth is revised down.  

The Conservatives simply have no vision for the country or for Nottingham,  and are not prepared to face the economic challenges that we face.

 

More Nottingham care leavers are entering employment, education or training

This year 67% of Nottingham City Care Leavers are either in employment, education or training, a significant increase on last year that places Nottingham as one of the best local authorities in the country for the future prospects of Care Leavers.

A designated Leaving Care service which solely works with those aged 18-25 has managed to support a significant number of Nottingham’s Care Leavers, with individual support packages that enhance their abilities and teach new skills, providing them with practical support for interviews and job applications. This ultimately provides them with the opportunity to live independent and successful lives after leaving our care service.

The priority that we have given to this area of our work is reflected in the fact that it forms a manifesto target, where we have pledged to offer apprenticeships or permanent jobs to 10% of care leavers within the council, setting an example to other employers with our own practice. To deliver this, the Leaving Care Service is working closely with the Nottingham Apprenticeship Scheme.

Further and higher education has also proved attainable for Care leavers, and we are proud of the 16 Nottingham care leavers who are currently at University. Work to ensure that care leavers have appropriate and additional pastoral support from FE providers is taking place through identifying designated contacts and improving communication between providers and Personal Advisors. The impact of this is starting to be seen, with examples of more collaborative and earlier support being implemented when issues arise, resulting in college places being sustained.

This approach has led to year on year success. In 2016/17 Nottingham City had 58.7% of care leavers aged 19 – 21 in education, employment or training and the average for local authorities who are similar to ours was 47.7%, meaning we are well out performing other parts of the country. We are also proud of the work and progress we have achieved and are particularly proud of our staff in the Council and Futures Advice who are providing Nottingham’s Care Leavers with the support and help they need.

We are not complacent however, and will continue to work hard to maintain and build on this progress.

Councillor David Mellen,
Portfolio Holder for Early Years and Early Intervention

Nottingham Labour approves fire sprinkler works despite governments broken promise on funding

We have approved £8.4 million worth of sprinkler installations and other safety measures in 13 high rise blocks in Nottingham City, despite the government breaking its promise to properly fund “whatever the experts tell us to make people safe”.

Following the tragic events in Grenfell earlier this year, Nottingham City Council worked with Nottingham City Homes, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue and local tenants to review all of the high rise blocks in Nottingham. All the blocks have current fire risk assessments and are fully compliant with current regulations. To reassure tenants that all was being done to make their buildings safe though, we took the decision to install sprinklers within the high rise blocks along with improvements to other safety measures.

Council leaders welcomed the promise by Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, who committed the government to doing all that was necessary to make people safe. As Housing Portfolio Holder, I wrote to the government asking for the funding for these safety improvements, and was dismayed when the government responded with a categorical no, describing the installation of sprinklers as “additional rather than essential”.

It is simply unbelievable that the Government has backtracked on its commitment to provide support to councils. In the same week as describing fire safety improvements for high rise blocks in Nottingham as additional, the government managed to find £100 million for the installation of sprinklers in the Houses of Parliament. The government again shows it simply has the wrong priorities.

We will go ahead despite the government breaking its promise to provide the funding. They are too important not to go ahead and we have taken the decision to use money from our capital budget. This however, will mean fewer new homes being built in Nottingham, despite the government saying it wants Councils building more and less money available to keep our existing 26,000 homes in good repair.

These are the consequences when government does not fairly fund local authorities.

Councillor Jane Urquhart,
Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage.

Arboretum – Speed Sign for Craven

Labour Councillors in Arboretum have agreed to fund a new speed sign to improve road safety, following concerns from residents around Craven Road.

The vehicle-activated sign warns drivers to slow down and reminds them of the speed limit. The sign has been installed after residents at community meetings and surgeries raised concerns about road safety with local councillors.

Labour Councillor for Arboretum Azad Choudhry said, ‘We are pleased that the sign has now been installed as we know that many local people were worried about speeding traffic on Craven Road. We hope that these signs will make drivers slow down, helping to keep pedestrians safe. If you’re worried about speeding traffic in your area, please let us know so we can try and help.’

If you have any concerns about traffic, or any other issue, please get in touch.

 

Conservatives Broke Their Promise on Rail Electrification and Instead Gave a £30 Billion Cheque To London

In the same week the Conservatives broke their promise  by cancelling the electrification of the Midland Mainline, they wrote a £30 billion cheque for Crossrail 2 which will primarily benefit London and the South East.

The government is already unfair in the way it spends money on transport infrastructure. London receives £2,592.68 per head compared to the East Midlands which only receives £218.94 per head. It is clear that their priority is London and not Nottingham. The cost of the electrification of the Midlands Mainline is £700 million. Instead the Conservatives spent £30 billion on the region that already gets the most spent on transport.

This shows the warped priorities the Conservatives have when it comes to spending and the extent to which they not care about the well-being of Nottingham. We will be demanding that the Government changes this unfair situation alongside other Core Cities by lobbying Parliament on Tuesday 12th September.

Abolish the Bedroom Tax Now

Nottingham Labour unanimously passed a motion at July’s Full Council Meeting calling for the abolition of the bedroom tax – while Conservative Councillors abstained.

The tax affects approximately 6,000 households in Nottingham, the vast majority of who are on low incomes and many who are disabled.

It is also ineffective. The tax was originally intended to free up properties for others but people are, understandably, staying put and seeing their income reduced rather than move away from friends and neighbours.

Nottingham City Council is faced with the absurd situation of opposing the tax, but being forced to implement it by the Conservative government.

Nottingham Labour has written to government miisters to demonstrate their objection to the tax; and continued to press our three local Labour MPs, Lilian Greenwood, Chris Leslie and Alex Norris to speak out against the tax in Parliament and Labour’s front bench members have also said they will raise the issue,

Following Theresa May’s failure to secure the majority she wanted in June, the Conservatives had to buy the votes of 10 DUP MPs for the sum of £1 billion. In their manifesto, the DUP were opposed to the bedroom tax so it is hoped that no there is no majority in Parliament for the bedroom tax it can be overturned.

Nottingham Labour at Pride 2017

Nottinghamshire Pride 2017

In the 50th year since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in England, people from across Nottinghamshire came together to celebrate Pride and show support to the LGBT community.

The event took place on Saturday 29th July 2017 in various venues in Hockley and around the city centre. It was estimated to have been the biggest Nottinghamshire Pride ever. Over 7,000 people took part in the parade and many more engaged with events across the city.

Amongst the street performers and bands, there was also a Nottingham City Transport bus.  It was painted in a rainbow livery for the occasion.

Nottingham City Transport pride 2017 bus
The NCT pride bus

The Labour Party has a proud history of supporting LGBT equality and many Nottingham Labour Councillors attended the parade to show their support. Nottingham Labour also had a stall at the event.

Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community and Customer Services said, ‘We were really pleased to be able to provide our support to the LGBT community again this year with our stall at Pride. This event shows the diversity of our city and everyone who attended had a great time.’

Pride continues to go from strength to strength and next year’s event promises to be even more successful.

Derby and Nottingham – Gym and Swim Offer

By announcing the launch of the Nottingham and Derby Metro Strategy 2030 in May, the two cities and their councils have made a commitment to work more closely together for the benefit of the whole area and its residents.

The aim of the strategy is to bring together resources and make the region an exciting place to live, work and place by 2030.

Last week, the two Labour led Councils announced a Gym and Swim membership offer, meaning that residents with gym and swim membership in one city will also be able to use facilities in the other city at no extra cost.

Labour Councillor and Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture in Nottingham, Dave Trimble said: ‘Leisure is an ideal area for us to look at how we can bring benefits to local people in both Derby and Nottingham through the two City Councils working more closely together.’

‘There are around 40,000 people who commute between the two cities to work. It makes good sense for us to offer gym and swim membership to Derby residents who work in Nottingham, and vice versa, so they can make use of the facilities at a time that suits them.’

Another benefit for residents of both cities includes a £1 discount on Trentbarton buses to travel to events such as Splendour in Nottingham or the Hannells Darley Park Concert in Derby this summer.

For more information on the gym and swim offer, please click here.