Today Nottingham City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen responded to the Government’s long overdue “Levelling Up” White Paper, cautiously welcoming the next steps on devolution but highlighting that these words do little to reverse the damage that twelve years of unprecedented Conservative cuts has caused to Nottingham.
Cllr Mellen said: “Nottingham people will hear the Government talking about ‘levelling up’ today, but they will wonder what it really means for them in their daily lives and what it means for the place they call home. That is the big test for the Government.
“Words from Government Ministers won’t deal with the soaring cost of energy and food or assist with the enormous pressures on household budgets. In April many of the people I represent will see big increases in National Insurance, steeply rising prices for home-energy and the government’s adult social care levy added to Council Tax bills yet again.
“I’ve worked proactively with colleagues in other Councils across Nottinghamshire to make the case to government about the investment our area desperately needs after 12 long years of cuts and underfunding.
“We’ve always been pro- devolution in Nottingham, but detail in terms of additional powers and new investment must be forthcoming. If Government is serious about genuine devolution for our area it has to be about more investment, better transport infrastructure, higher skills for local people and creating more good jobs in our area.
“The East Midlands region has suffered greatly over the past decade with chronic under investment. Our residents and our businesses expect and deserve much better than the sustained funding cuts we’ve seen and the huge regional funding variations with the East Midlands often losing out.
“If the government is finally recognising that to create stronger regional growth that the investment is required I absolutely welcome that.
“It is imperative that the Minister matches his word with deeds and begins to deliver in a meaningful way. As a Core City, Nottingham has much to be proud of and much to build on. We have ambitious plans to truly unlock the potential of our area and be at the heart of growth in our region, plans that are ready to be put into action if we get the green light on funding.
“I urge the government to work with us, to adequately fund local public services, which continue to be under severe strain, to invest in the huge potential of Nottingham, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands and to start to deliver for people.”