Monday 22 April 2024
7.2 C
Nottingham

Sheriff of Nottingham ‘shocked’ to find she was the only one who voted against city council cuts

The only councillor to vote against the budget which slashed Nottingham’s services says she doesn’t regret the decision, despite now being suspended from the Labour group.

Councillor Shuguftah Quddoos defied her party’s orders at the emotional meeting on Monday (March 4), which attempted to close a £53m budget gap.

Councillors had been instructed to push through sweeping cuts to services after the authority effectively went bankrupt, also leading to over 500 job losses.

The marathon seven-hour meeting saw the majority of councillors vote in favour, saying they were “under duress” from the government and circumstances, with three others abstaining.

Cllr Quddoos, who currently holds the ceremonial role of Sheriff of Nottingham, was the only vote against the proposals. 

- Advertisement -

The representative for Berridge ward, who was elected in 2019, has been suspended from the Labour group pending an investigation.

 

The Labour Group says that it has a legal duty to set a balanced budget, and it expects all group members to support the proposals.

The consequences of not setting the budget had been made clear to group members before the meeting.

Cllr Quddoos said:

“I have opposed the cuts behind closed doors over the last six months – why should I vote for them in public just because I had been threatened with suspension?”

“My guiding principle is what benefits or harms the people I represent – this would harm nearly all of them,”

“I lost a lot of sleep over the decision. I did consider not going to the meeting, as several others did.

“In the end, residents gave me a voice at the table – I had to use it.

“I work with council officers who are going to lose their jobs. I couldn’t look them in the eye if I voted in favour.”

During the meeting, she delivered a petition against the cuts, which had gathered more than 11,000 signatures, saying it was in the name of “kids in care, people in temporary accommodation, vulnerable adults, charities and volunteers”.

She says the moment when she realised she was the only vote against “was a shock – it was unbelievable”.

Councillors had been informed of the possible legal implications of not following instructions from the government-appointed Improvement and Assurance Board, who have now been replaced with commissioners.

Cllr Quddoos added: “I may regret the vote in six months, but I doubt it.

“So many people have contacted me to say ‘thank you’, including a Community Protection Officer who could lose his job to the cuts. It’s been heartwarming.”

Suspension from Labour means Cllr Quddoos’ will likely be barred from leadership positions on the council or becoming Lord Mayor.

“It’s very disappointing to have left Labour like this as it wasn’t my decision,” she said.

“Hopefully I can serve out the remainder of my year as Sheriff.”

A spokesperson for the Labour group said: “The Conservative mismanagement of the economy, alongside a failure to provide adequate funding for local government, has resulted in Nottingham City Council being faced with difficult budget decisions.

“The council must set a legal and balanced budget and we expect all Labour group members to support proposals to set a responsible and legal budget.”

Follow The Wire on TikTok, Facebook, X, Instagram. Send your story to newsdesk@westbridgfordwire.com or via WhatsApp on 0115 772 0418

Categories:
 

Latest