Labour’s Ambitions for Nottingham

As we set out in our Council Plan, published at the last Full Council meeting, we have a four year programme of priorities for Nottingham and I am pleased that at the start of 2020 we are working hard to achieve the ambitious targets laid out in the council plan.

We want to build or buy at least 1000 council or social houses for rent. We know that waiting for an appropriate home for themselves and their family is a big problem for too many in our city. From those finding themselves sleeping rough to those living in overcrowded conditions, as well as those who have spent months and years on the waiting list, all point to there being not enough homes in our city and we intend to do something about it. Of course if the government would return to councils all of the receipts made as a result of the sale of council houses rather than the proportion that we currently receive, this would make this task much easier. But irrespective of government support, we will do everything we can to achieve this ambition.

Our second main target is to create 15,000 new jobs in Nottingham. It is pleasing to see the cranes in the sky over the southern part of the city centre and to see the construction jobs that have been created by the exciting building work that is going on. We look forward as well to the opening of the new College Hub building, the Broadmarsh bus station and car park, the renovated castle in early 2021, the Broadmarsh shopping and leisure space, and the new city centre library, as further centres for employment in the city centre. Building taking place at Unity Square, plans for Crocus place as well as other developments in the South Side of the city are matched by housing developments in other parts of the city in Bestwood, Bilborough and at the Waterside in Colwick. We want to encourage new businesses to come to Nottingham to benefit from our wonderful public transport systems and forward looking environmental policies. We look forward to new developments at the former Imperial Tobacco Site on Thane Rd, on the former Boots Island site, on Blenheim Industrial Estate, on Glaisdale Drive and at the NG2 business park. We need to work together with our regional colleagues to argue for government investment in the East Midlands, in HS2, on the electrification of the Midlands Mainline and in regional projects that will provide much needed employment in our area. And we know that work makes a difference. As austerity continues, despite what Tory politicians say, we know that work and fairly paid work makes a difference to the lives of our citizens and we will do everything we can to create the conditions for jobs to be created.

The plans for our new central library are ambitious and exciting. Housing the best ‘Children’s Library’ in the UK in our brand new library space at the heart of the new broadmarsh area contributes to changing the area completely and will bring with it pedestrian friendly public space which will lend itself to citizens gathering for a variety of purposes and enjoying the space vacated by the removal of vehicles from Collin St. Giving children a love of reading is vital for the aspirations of the next generation. Screen based entertainment for our children makes that a challenge, but our young people need both; to be IT literate is a vital skill for the future, but as are good literacy skills and an imagination and curiosity that comes from an immersion in books from birth. That’s why our early years book gifting scheme is so important and why a linked ambition is to get 10000 children receiving free monthly books.

Our ambitions for our city include making it safer, by reducing both crime and anti-social behaviour. I’ve talked earlier about knife crime, but the rises in crime over the last two or three years, coinciding with government cuts to police funding, undermined the huge reductions in crime achieved by us in Nottingham in the previous decade, Crime and the fear of crime has a debilitating effect of our citizens’ wellbeing and anti-social behaviour has a nagging undermining of our community cohesion and quality of life. We will work through our dedicated community protection teams with the police and our communities to address crime and antisocial behaviour, doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe in their homes, on our streets and on line.

Our fifth main priority is to keep our city clean and to keep our neighbourhoods as clean as the city centre. This is a tough challenge but is one which we will prioritise. Our wonderful staff working across the city from early in the morning until late at night are vital in this task and we applaud their commitment, but they can’t achieve this target alone. Much of the work that they do would not be necessary if all of our citizens used bins properly, booked their bulky waste collections on our free system and picked up after their dogs and the council would not be so stretched in this area.  I appeal to those living and visiting Nottingham in this new decade to play their part in keeping our city clean and I pay tribute to those who go out of their way as ‘Clean Champions’ and as part of community litter picks to clear up the rubbish dropped by others.

These are our priorities and they are some of our ambitions but there are many others. We want to lead a city where people get on with each other and live in harmony and treat each other with respect. Children should be safe and nurtured in our child friendly city, young people should have opportunities to learn in good schools and have a range of positive activities to get involved in and job opportunities. We need to work in strong partnerships between the council and other public institutions, with businesses, with our universities, with our communities and with voluntary and faith groups so that together we can build a better Nottingham. We all need to do everything we can to look after the planet we live on and to adopt policies in this city which improve our air quality and reduce our carbon footprint. The next generation are entitled to us doing what we can to reverse mistakes that we have made and improve the legacy that we leave them.

So as we start the 2020’s, we are ambitious for Nottingham. We are aware of the many challenges facing the people of Nottingham and the council, but we will work hard in partnership to achieve these ambitions.

Lord Mayor, the ambitions we have for our city are exciting. For years, Labour politicians have stood in this chamber and proudly represented the people of Nottingham guided by our clear values – to help build a safer, cleaner city that is ambitious for our residents that we can all be proud of. And we’ve achieved many great things as a Council over the last decade whilst enduring years of government austerity. This means that vital services that we all rely on have been squeezed to a point of crisis and millions of pounds have been shifted from those who need it the most in Nottingham and other cities in the midlands and the north, to more affluent areas in the south. Of course, these difficult times have led to challenges in delivering our ambitious commitments for the city, but despite these difficult times our ambition for our residents has never diminished.

Nottingham needs politicians who want to make our city an even better place and throughout the next decade we will continue to campaign for a Labour government which will rise to the challenges facing us, setting an ambitious vision, not only for our city, but the country as a whole.

Cllr David Mellen,
Leader of Nottingham City Council

Government Making Local People Pick up Social Care Bill

the Conservative Government expects councils to put an additional 2% charge onto council tax bills from April. 

This follows on from them cutting 60p in every £1 of Government funding that councils across the country receive. 

In Nottingham that means our city now receives over £100million less Government funding every year than it did back in 2011. That equates to a loss of Government funding of £529 per Nottingham household. 

In fact it was one of the first acts of the new Chancellor to add half a billion pounds onto council tax bills by way of this adult social care precept, which means that the additional money raised is to be spent on care services for the elderly, vulnerable children and disabled people. 

There are a few problems with the Governments approach:

  1. It’s short termism at its very worst – for 2 years councils have had promise after promise of new Government policies to properly fund care services for older people. The need for those services is growing yet the funding for councils has been reducing. This causes a funding gap for many councils who have adult social care responsibilities. 
  2. It’s unfair – areas with the highest need tend to be local authorities in poorer parts of the country. Those happen to be the areas that can raise the least additional funding from a council tax increase. It breaks down like this – in places like Nottingham, Hull and Liverpool most older people are not wealthy enough to fund their own care in older age so the council has to fund it. In places like Surrey, Sussex and Buckinghamshire most older people are wealthy enough to fund their own care when they need it. But guess what – it’s the areas with the least demand on the council who can raise the most by increasing council tax. So to put it bluntly when Nottingham, Hull and Liverpool add 1% to their council tax they might raise around £3 per head. When councils in Surrey, Sussex and Buckinghamshire do the same the raise over double that amount per person. So by failing to redistribute funding based on the needs of local populations the Government is making the inequality even worse.
  3. It’s hard pressed families that face yet again higher council tax bills. Council tax is not progressive, it does not take account of income, it does not take account of ability to pay in the same way that income tax does. So people on low wages who are already struggling to make ends meet will pay 2% more and a multi millionaire with a very highly paid job or business income will pay 2% more. A Tory tax if ever I saw one. 

I hope that City Councillors in opposition parties can see this for what it is. We in the Labour Group certainly can – Unfair, short termism that doesn’t actually provide the funding that’s needed, where it’s needed. I also hope that we can have cross party support to join Labour Councillors in our lobbying of Government to deal with the huge funding gaps that now exist. 

Council tax increases alone cannot meet the cost demand for services or close the funding gap or begin to deal with inequalities between different parts of the country.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services ADASS say that councils now have a funding gap of £3.6billion in adult care services 


The Children’s Society has concluded that by 2025 councils will have a £3 billion funding gap for children’s services. 

Contrary to some statements I’ve heard this is not a new Conservative Government. It’s the same group of Tory MPs that have presided over austerity and funding cuts for the last decade. They have created the inequality, they have unfairly increased council tax bills and they have created the huge gaps in funding that affect towns and cities across the country. It’s about time they dealt with the problems they’ve created. 

Cllr Sam Webster,
Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre

Labour’s Plan to make Nottingham Green

At January’s Full Council Nottingham Labour is unveiling our response to the climate crisis, reiterating our ambition to become the first carbon neutral city in the UK by 2028 and publishing a positive plan that tackles the environmental challenges we face in a way that improves the quality of life for local people.

Over the past two decades some Nottingham Labour has ensured our city is leading the rest of the country on this issue. that Nottingham met its Energy Strategy target early (a 26% reduction of carbon dioxide emissions against 2005 by 2020) with reductions of emissions by 39% since 2005, equivalent to 43% per person  Some of the actions we have already taken include:

  • Signing the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change in 2000 with a follow up in 2011,
  • £15 million investment in one of the UK’s largest electric bus fleets
  • Developing and expanding the electric tram network
  • Improving cycling facilities, including bike hubs and a cycle hire scheme
  • Significant investment in cycle corridors
  • Introduction of the Workplace Parking Levy – tackling congestion and containing traffic growth, while generating funds to invest in public transport and
  • Installing solar panels on 4500 domestic properties across the city.

Whilst we rightly celebrate this success, it is just the beginning. . Together with city partners, we will be creating new Climate Change and Energy plans for the next decade, taking forward the ambitions of a locally responsible global city and turn words into actions. This will bring benefits such as reducing fuel poverty, improving the natural environment and air quality and providing sustainable jobs for the future

Following the launch of the citywide charter for sustainable carbon neutrality through the Green Partnership, the Council is now it is setting out a plan of action to help take the city towards carbon neutrality. This takes the same aim of addressing one of our most pressing environmental and climate challenges in a way that benefits the city and residents, improves quality of life and ensures nobody is excluded from the progress it will bring. In particular, Nottingham wants to develop and maximise the opportunities for local jobs and retaining the value of what’s need to be done within the city. Efforts are focused on five key areas:

  • Transport – Building on the city’s successful efforts so far to provide high-quality green public transport and to encourage take-up of low and no-emission vehicles.
  • The built environment – Adding to the 40,000 energy efficiency measures already in local homes and the roll-out of the pioneering Energiesprong scheme to create net zero carbon homes.
  • Energy generation – Going beyond the huge installation programme of solar panels on council buildings and homes and the council’s energy from waste operation by looking into anaerobic digestion, maximising the use of heat pumps that use water, air and the ground to heat our buildings and the possibility of expanding the city’s district heating network
  • Waste and water – Maximising the potential of the city’s waste disposal arrangements, which see over 90% reused, recycled, composted or used for energy recovery.
  • Consumption – Increasing local food production while reducing food waste and consumption of high carbon foods, by making city events more carbon neutral and tourism more sustainable, increasing the range of edible plants in public spaces and encouraging community gardens and hubs to grow and share food.

We all have a role to play in this, but we all have something to gain by finding more sustainable ways to live and work. This will bring benefits such as reducing fuel poverty, improving the natural environment and air quality and providing sustainable jobs for the future.

Read full report here.

Cllr Sally Longford,
Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council,
Portfolio Holder for Energy & Environment and Democratic Services

Conservative cuts lead to hard-pressed council tax payers funding care for the elderly

Nottingham City Council is setting next year’s budget against the backdrop of having its Government funding slashed by three-quarters over the past decade.

It means that to keep on meeting the growing demand to look after the elderly – now by far the biggest single cost to the council – Council Tax will have to go up again. It’s the result of a decade of the Conservative Government retreating from funding local services and expecting councils to raise Council Tax bills in an attempt to pay for adult social care.

The Government’s approach is wrong. It pushes up council taxes on hard pressed households and does nothing to help those areas where there is higher need for care services.  Such is the scale of Conservative funding cuts Council Tax will never raise enough to pay for care of the elderly and vulnerable in Nottingham. 

The council will need to make £15.8m of savings in 2020/21, of which £13.4m is included in the December budget consultations report.  This will be achieved by innovating, trying to do things differently and making further efficiencies – but that still doesn’t leave enough to fund vital services. Conservative funding cuts mean that Council Tax will rise by almost 4%, including the Government’s 2% adult social care precept.

It’s not the right way to fund such vital services – we need proper policies and adequate funding from Government to address the national crisis we face in caring for people in their old age. The vast bulk of our funding is now spent on care services for vulnerable children and older people with care needs. These are vital services that thousands of our residents rely on every day. 

This scale of Government funding cuts has never happened before. In Nottingham we receive over £100million less per year than we did in 2013. Despite repeated promises from Government of a new plan to fund care services nothing has changed.

Councils up and down the country now have no choice but to raise council tax, increase charges and make further service reductions to try to close the funding gap. After 9 years of ignoring this problem it is urgent that Government puts forward new money and a new policy to fund care for the elderly.

I fear for local services under the Conservatives

If the Conservatives are elected with a majority in Parliament on Thursday I fear for the future of local services like libraries, children’s centres and parks. The financial strain on councils is so great that without a new funding deal and a new way to fund care for elderly (which councils are currently responsible for funding) many will have no choice but to sell off public assets like libraries, parks and leisure centres or close them completely. It’s no exaggeration to say that for many councils across England financial pressures are at breaking point.

We know from experience over the last decade of austerity that local public services, services provided by councils and local schools have all suffered from severe funding cuts. In Nottingham the council’s main funding grant from Government has been cut by over £100 million per year and our schools have lost out on £71million. 

The result of these unprecedented funding reductions is reduced services or in some cases services ending, rising council taxes and increased local charges. Councils up and down the country find themselves in a similar position, although it’s true to say that councils in poorer parts of the country have been targeted for bigger cuts in recent years.

Councils are currently responsible for funding care for the elderly and funding children in care services. Protecting vulnerable children and delivering care services to elderly, vulnerable and disabled people are now by far the biggest area of spending for councils and demand and therefore costs are continuing to rise. Council tax increases have been forced onto households in an attempt by councils to make up some of the Government funding cuts, but the truth is that additional council tax income goes nowhere near the level of Government funding reductions. 

People know all too well that homelessness and rough sleeping have increased, that spending on highways maintenance has reduced, that local policing has been decimated, that more children are being raised in poverty and that as our population gets older more elderly people require care at home or residential care. Councils and council employees are on the front line every day focussed on these very issues. I fear that another 5 years of a Conservative Government won’t deliver the reform and new funding that councils need to function. More cuts, more austerity and more pain for local communities is not the way to deal with the very real challenges our country faces. 

Cllr Sam Webster
Portfolio Holder for Finance at Nottingham City Council 

Government Cancels Chancellor’s Budget Starving Local Public Services of New Cash

The Government has announced that it has cancelled the Chancellor’s November budget. Over the past decade of austerity the Conservative Party has starved local public services of cash and has consistently made a political choice to cut hardest the funding to cities, urban areas and the poorest parts of the country. 

The chronic underfunding of local council services, like care for the elderly, housing, and youth provision continues. The people of Nottingham have been hit hard by Conservative cuts. Compared to 2013 Government funding for local public services has fallen by £101 million per year. At the same time local schools in Nottingham have lost out on £71million, which equates to £496 per child. We’ve lost many hundreds of Police officers to Government funding cuts and community policing teams across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have been devastated. 

In his latest Spending Review, Conservative Chancellor Sajid Javid again raided the pockets of local council tax payers. He announced that £500million would be added to council tax bills nationally to stop councils going bankrupt, such has been the scale of Tory cuts.

While the Conservatives continue to be obsessed only with Brexit it seems that our towns and cities have yet again been forgotten. With the cancellation of the Chancellor’s budget and no end in sight of Tory austerity councils up and down the country will have no choice but to reduce local services even further. Faced with huge funding gaps to the tune of billions of pounds nationally, Council tax payers will once again find themselves paying more, for less.

Cllr Sam Webster,
Portfolio Holder for Finance
Nottingham City Council

Tribute to Former Leader Betty Higgins

Former Leader of Nottingham City Council Betty Higgins has died aged 92. Elected as a Labour councillor to what was then the Manvers Ward of the City Council in 1971, Mrs Higgins was Leader of the City Council from 1983-87 and again from 1991-93, and stood down as a councillor in 2003.

As the first female leader of the council, she was also recognised as one of the top 100 Women of Substance in Nottingham, for her continuous campaign for women’s voices to be heard and to make sure that women were represented in public, civic and community life. She was a great advocate of public service and of the public sector, believing in providing good services to local people and ensuring that services were available when they were needed. She was a councillor over a long period during which the city was transformed. Many neighbourhoods were remodelled and significant regeneration investment was attracted to the city at a time when traditional industries were being lost.

Betty will be greatly missed by those who worked with her and knew her. She was an exceptional council leader at a difficult political time when control of the council was in the balance. She led the authority in a very pragmatic and constructive way and was always motivated by the people and communities she served. She made sure their voices were heard and was a role model and an inspiration for many Nottingham people. She had the foresight to keep Nottingham City Transport in public ownership – one of only a handful in the country which are managing to avoid the problems privatisation brought to other areas. It’s one of Betty’s lasting legacies that NCT is a national award-winning bus company that’s a key part of our excellent public transport system.

Conservative Controlled Authorities in Crisis with Their Finances

Increasingly we see Conservative controlled authorities in crisis with their finances despite less cuts and preferential treatment when it comes to the Government’s funding formula.

Last year the ‘negative RSG’ funding by the Conservative Government saw Surrey County Council as one of the biggest winners receiving £17.3m from the new scheme after previously pocketing £24.1m of transition grant in 2016. It’s outrageous that the Government chooses to bail out councils in better-off areas of the south when poorer councils in the North and Midlands in areas with higher need are losing out.

Despite their preferential treatment, Conservative controlled council’s losing control of their finances. Some examples of this include:

The Conservative Party is showing themselves both unfair and incompetent when it comes to managing money. Nottingham people and others across the North and Midlands are losing out on millions of pounds of extra funding which would help support the vital council services they rely on.

Conservative Government Has Reduced Funding to Nottingham by Three Quarters Since 2013

Since 2013 the Conservative Government has cut its main source of funding to Nottingham from £127 million to just £25 million. At the same time the cost of care for the elderly and vulnerable young people is rising, meaning the Conservative Government is making Nottingham people pay more for less.

What makes this worse and totally unfair is the blatant favouring by Government of affluent southern areas which have received much more in grants despite areas like Nottingham needing it more. They have also received special grants to soften the blow of cuts which places like Nottingham need more but missed out on altogether. Following the Government’s £300 million of extra ‘transition funding’ announced in 2016, which overwhelmingly benefitted more affluent councils in the South, the Government last year proposed ‘negative RSG’ compensation worth £153 million with a rigged criteria which saw 85% of it going to Conservative controlled authorities predominantly in the South East and South West.

This year alone Nottingham is being forced by the Government to make £22m of savings over the next three years, which will have a series a significant impact on local services. Though we have continued to carry out a range of commercial activities which bring in over £20m a year to offset the cuts and key services that many councils are cutting are being protected as much as possible here in Nottingham, including children’s centres and libraries, tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, keeping the city clean, protecting children and supporting vulnerable elderly people, every year it is becoming harder.

Manifesto 2019 – Serving Nottingham Better

Nottingham Labour want to make sure that local people can access the best possible services from Nottingham City Council and from their councillors. Nottingham Labour councillors are the only local representatives with a track record of being on the side of local people and standing up to protect services and spending for Nottingham.

Since 2015, we are proud to have achieved:

  • Created 3 new joint services centres in Dales, Hyson Green and Strelley, bringing library, Police, NHS and welfare advice under one roof for local people.
  • 70p of every pound spent by the City Council is spent with Nottingham businesses.
  • Raised more than £20 million in income from commercial activities to reinvest into public services.
  • Provided almost 250 young people with apprenticeships at the City Council and supported 2/3 of them into permanent jobs.
  • Supported Nottingham Credit Union to provide ethical and sustainable finance and borrowing to more Nottingham people.

Conservatives nationally have led 8 years of ideologically driven funding cuts to councils, which are putting local services at risk and failing to recognise changing demographics or show ambition for cities like Nottingham. Since 2013/14,, Nottingham has lost more than £100million in government Revenue Support Grant funding. Local Conservatives have repeatedly failed to stand up against these cuts. We are committed to ensuring Nottingham people get value for money in their council services and that is why if elected in May we will:

  • Deliver an integrated benefit, housing aid, Futures and DWP service under one roof at Nottingham City Council’s head office.
  • Become the country’s most commercial council, bringing in at least £4 million more from commercial activiities to support services local people rely on.
  • Allow neighbourhoods to invest and run their own local community hubs and assets through Community Asset Trusts.
  • Ensure Nottingham City Council jobs pay at least the living wage and wherever possible, commission services from organisation that do the same.
  • Work with local businesses to create a £2.5 million fund which provides 500 new apprentices for people from diverse backgrounds.

Download the full Nottingham Labour 2019 manifesto.