The leader of Nottingham City Council says putting hundreds of jobs at risk just weeks before Christmas “is not something I want to do” – but says it reflects the “serious situation” the city and authority is now in following a string of financial problems.
Council Leader David Mellen (Lab), said: “This is a difficult day for Nottingham and a difficult day for people who, a week before Christmas, are going to have their jobs put at risk and many of them will have worked for the city council faithfully for many years.
“This is not something, as the leader of the council, I want to do. Equally there are going to be potential reductions to services out there in our communities which will be difficult for people who rely on them.
???? ‘Difficult day’ for Nottingham as 500 jobs put at risk weeks before Christmas#Nottingham
The leader of Nottingham City Council says putting hundreds of jobs at risk just weeks before Christmas “is not something I want to do” – but says it reflects the “serious situation”… pic.twitter.com/t2UMzJ06Ks
— West Bridgford Wire News (@westbridgfdwire) December 12, 2023
“We want people to give us their views and I am sure we will get plenty of views this is not something that people want us to do. But we have a legal duty to balance the budget and therefore we will have to make difficult decisions in February.”
The potential job losses mean around one in 10 positions will be cut from a workforce of over 6,000.
Alongside these, the council has detailed proposals to permanently close city centre water features, review its libraries and community centres, cut bus services and cease grant funding to voluntary groups, including lunch clubs.
The authority further plans to raise an additional £7m by hiking council tax by five per cent.
However the proposals will only save the council £33.2m out of the £53m gap.
“The proposals that we are consulting on don’t actually meet the current budget gap, but that budget gap moves around and it will be affected by a number of things,” Cllr Mellen said.
“One is the fact inflation is going down, the second is next week the Government will announce the local government settlement and we will be able to find out how much extra money we are getting.
“Equally the restrictions that are in place in-year might well have a knock on effect to the gap next year. There is no good in pretending this is anything other than a serious situation for Nottingham and for the people.”
Adults and children who are the “most vulnerable” will still be protected, Cllr Mellen said, as part of the authority’s statutory duties.
However he added: “Some of the services that we potentially will be cutting will be ones which effect other people who really need our help.
“We will need to work with the voluntary sector and others to see where that help can come from. Sadly we are proposing in these plans to cut the grants which we give to the voluntary sector which won’t help them in the slightest.”