Nottinghamshire County Council’s Labour Group leader Alan Rhodes has dismissed Cllr Kay Cutts view that unless a unitary authority is formed £54 million in services will need to be cut.
Cllr Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said today as £270,000 was approved to move ahead to draw up a business plan for the proposals, that if the ‘super council’ – also known as a unitary authority – ‘…did not go ahead, then the council would be forced to cut services in order to make £54 million in savings over the next four years.’
However this was dismissed as ‘Project Fear’ by Alan Rhodes, the leader of the Labour group.
Councillor Cutts said: “We currently spend £10 million on children’s centres. That is one of the services we would probably have to reduce by more than half.
“That’s what it will mean if we don’t make some savings across the council. These are the sort of services that will go.”
Speaking about the current system of having district councils as well as a county council, she said: “Members of the public think this system is broken, and it’s time we looked at it. Because they’re the ones footing the bill.
“If we make the savings which I think will be made, then they will be the ones who will substantially gain from it.”
But Labour councillor Kevin Greaves opposed the spending, and said: “I find this abhorrent, spending £270,000 of hard-earned public money on this vanity project.
“You haven’t had the courage to speak to local districts about it.
“We are struggling with front-line services, but yet you can find £250,000, which is really going to be more like £500,000.
“I don’t support this, and I never will.”
Jason Zadrozny represents the Ashfields ward for the Ashfield Independent Party, and was strongly critical of the scheme.
Having walked for more than five hours to the meeting at County Hall, he said: “This has been a PR disaster.
“The cost of reorganisation at all the councils where this has happened has been around £100 million, but we have no idea how much this is going to cost.
“I think it’s pretty abhorrent to waste £250,000 when we have got very expensive well-paid staff in the building that could do the job.
“I think it shows scant disregard for the intelligence of members of the public in Nottinghamshire who really should have a proper and final say on this.
“My group put a motion down saying that there should be a referendum on the same day as the local elections so that we could genuinely ask the public what they thought about this idea. We have been stopped from putting that motion down.
“There has been significant gerrymandering about the democracy, about the openness, and about the transparency of this. Meetings are being held in private so the public and press are not invited and the public will not be properly consulted.
“£250,000 is more money than this council is investing on the entire project of looking at the economic benefits of HS2 at Toton. How can that be right?
“You will talk about what it could save, but you have not said that it’s the Tory government that has taken an axe to local government finance in the last seven or eight years, and that’s why we’re in this mess.”