Tuesday 27 February 2024
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Nottingham

Council’s energy bills to cost extra £3.6m a year

Labour-run Nottingham City Council must find another £3.6m to pay energy bills amid soaring costs.

The extra spending was discussed during an Executive Board meeting on Tuesday, December 20, where a Labour councillor described the situation as “frightening”.

Businesses and local authorities are not covered by an energy price cap like households, and instead, the Government provides discounts via an Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

It provides discounted rates for a period of time and the support is currently under review due to significant costs, prompting concern from businesses across the country.

The change in stance from a price cap to a price discount came in the Government’s autumn statement.

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Nottingham City Council says it is therefore paying more because there is no upper limit on bills, and it must find ways to save on energy elsewhere.

Cllr Sally Longford (Lab), the portfolio holder for energy, said: “Obviously the energy costs are causing problems for everybody now, each individual is finding it harder to justify putting their central heating on.

“The council is no different.

“We have our energy costs, and energy costs are going up across the board despite having an extremely efficient system and having made amazing progress in reducing our carbon emissions and energy consumption.

“We are still being hit by the rising energy costs, and we have also been very much disappointed recently to find that the promise of an energy price cap by Jeremy Hunt, in his autumn statement, has not actually materialised as a price cap.

“It is actually just a price discount which is predicted to cost us an additional £3.6m this year, and we have got to try and balance that and find ways of protecting ourselves from those increasing costs in the coming months and years.

“It is quite frightening how we are being told one thing and making plans and preparing ourselves to try and balance the budget in the face of this sort of announcement, and then to find the rug has been pulled.”

During the same meeting Nottingham councillors backed budget proposals which detailed savings up to £29m, as it looks to fill a £32m black hole.

The measures include cutting 110 full-time equivalent job roles, making changes to adult social care, reviewing grants to community groups and temporarily mothballing two floors at Loxley House.

There will also be a council tax hike of five per cent.

A consultation on some of the proposals, around £10m worth, was launched on the same day so residents could have their say.

The Government has said it will announce the outcome of its review of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in the new year.

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