City councillors vote through budget cuts after seven-hour meeting

Nottingham's Old Market Square

Nottingham city councillors voted through huge budget cuts at a tense meeting that lasted over seven hours on Monday (March 4).

Members said the cuts were made “reluctantly” and some had considered resigning over slashing budgets that will affect some of the most vulnerable in the city and are aimed at trying to balance the books at the stricken authority.

Cuts will be made to jobs, social care, community and cultural organisations and youth services. More libraries look set to close in the city and council tax will rise by almost 5%.

As the voted for the cuts, each Labour member said: “Constrained by national government cuts and impositions, I am obliged to vote for the legal budget as set out by the Section 151 Office. I vote for.”

Last month, The Government has announced that commissioners are to be appointed at troubled Nottingham City Council.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) confirmed that the Secretary of State Michael Gove, after considering representations and all other developments since his ‘minded to’ proposals, has decided to appoint commissioners for the council.

The lead commissioner for Nottingham is Tony McArdle OBE who was previously lead commissioner at the former Northamptonshire County Council and is currently chair of the London Borough of Croydon Improvement and Assurance Panel. He is supported by Margaret Lee as commissioner for finance, with the intention that a commissioner for transformation will be nominated in due course.

The commissioners have been granted extensive powers and will oversee the full range of the council’s “improvement activities”, including strategies to secure the medium and long term financial sustainability of the council and plans to transform front line services.

The three won’t come cheap; one of them will be paid £1,200 and the other two £1,100 a day

The appointment of commissioners replaces the Improvement and Assurance Board with immediate effect, although the Commissioners will be able to draw on the input of Sir Tony Redmond and former IAB members as they see fit.

The council has a £23m overspend in 2023/24 and has requested Exceptional Financial Support from government in the form of capitalisation which allows the council to use capital receipts from asset sales to meet ongoing revenue costs as a short term measure.