A public engagement event has been scheduled next week on Nottingham City Council’s budget for 2024/25.
The council is faced with a £50m funding gap as the crisis in local government funding continues to impact on authorities across the country.
Earlier this week, the council published initial proposals put forward by council officers to make the savings needed to close the budget gap and balance the budget for 2024/25, which is a legal requirement for all councils.
The engagement event is due to take place at the Council House on Wednesday 20 December between 5:30 pm and 7 pm and is open to all. No booking or registration is needed. It will give people a chance to hear from leading councillors and officers on the proposals, the current national crisis in local government and ask questions.
The council’s Executive Board will meet on 19 December to discuss the proposals and agree formal consultation can commence which will run for four weeks until 16 January. It will include an online survey as well as further engagement events, details on which will be announced shortly.
The proposals for consultation involve managing demand, increasing charges, reducing costs, reducing services to a statutory minimum and in some cases ceasing services and funding altogether.
Last month, the council’s chief finance officer issued a Section 114 Report due to the authority not being able to deliver a balanced budget for the current year.
Major pressures affecting local government nationally, including the cost of increased demand for children’s and adults’ social care and rising homelessness presentations, have led to a £23 million overspend this year and whilst the council is working hard to reduce this through enhanced spending controls, some of these underlying pressures will continue to affect the budget next year.
Last year, services for adults, children and housing and homelessness accounted for 62.5% of the council’s revenue budget. Since 2013/14, the council’s Revenue Support Grant (RSG) from Government has reduced by £97 million every year. Over the same period, Nottingham’s ‘Core Spending Power’, a measure used by Government which also includes income from Council Tax, business rates and other grants, has reduced by 28.2% in real terms compared to 19.4% for all councils in England, according to SIGOMA, the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities.
Although not the cause of the overspend in the current year, past issues in the council’s financial governance which led to the appointment of an Improvement and Assurance Board have reduced its financial resilience and ability to draw on reserves.