County Council's financial challenges in light of COVID-19

15 July 2020

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Commenting on Nottinghamshire County Council's financial challenge, Cllr Richard Jackson, Chairman of Finance and Major Projects Committee said,

  

“At the start of 2020 Nottinghamshire County Council was looking ahead with confidence regarding its finances, but COVID-19 has created a huge new funding challenge for all local authorities across the country.

“The Government has provided an extra £37 million to Nottinghamshire County Council so far to help meet the cost of the crisis, but we still face a projected funding gap of more than £50 million over three years, including £26 million in the next year alone, and these figures are certain to rise.

“This Council has saved more than £250 million over the last ten years through an ambitious programme of innovation and modernisation, but that means there are very few efficiency savings left to be found, and certainly not the amounts of money we will need to balance our budget.

“We have a legal and moral duty to protect critical services such as children’s social care, support for vulnerable young and older people with complex health conditions, and repairing and maintaining the county’s roads, pavements and streetlighting to a decent standard.

“This leaves us with no alternative but to review other services that are discretionary or where we have scope within our statutory duty to redefine, for example libraries, youth centres, day centres, discretionary school transport, and community funds like the Local Improvement Scheme and the Councillors’ Divisional Fund.  The cost of keeping all of these services whilst also funding all of our extra costs for COVID-19 would be equivalent to a 10% increase in County Council tax.

“Whatever further funding we get from Central Government, we shall still have to look at every other possible way of saving money.  We think it is important for councils to provide these services because they are important to the people of Nottinghamshire and are what they expect to receive when they pay their council tax.  The Council will have to seriously consider where this money is to come from, as there are no easy options.”

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