No frontline services to be cut in Worksop and Bassetlaw says county council leader as he defends plans to increase council tax

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The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has defended plans to increase council tax as it will lead to “positive” investments.

Nottinghamshire County Council revealed plans earlier this year to increase council tax by 4.84 per cent - just 0.16 per cent below the maximum the authority can increase without holding a referendum.

It comes as part of budget-balancing proposals by the Conservative-led council and would hit ‘band A’ properties with a £53 annual rise from April. It will mean residents living in a ‘band D’ property would pay an extra £79 a year.

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Councillors will be meeting tomorrow (February 9) to discuss and approve the budget plans.

Councillor Ben Bradley, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, has defended plans to increase council tax by 4.84 per cent.Councillor Ben Bradley, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, has defended plans to increase council tax by 4.84 per cent.
Councillor Ben Bradley, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, has defended plans to increase council tax by 4.84 per cent.

Council leader Ben Bradley MP said the 11 per cent inflation has cost the council “around £24 million for this year” - but the proposed tax rise will allow investment across the county, including Bassetlaw, and prevent any cuts to frontline services.

He said: “When you look around the country, even our direct neighbours in the city, services have been slashed left, right and centre. We're not cutting any frontline services, and I think that's really positive and possibly even unique around the country.”

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Coun Bradley said the authority will this year begin to implement plans to deliver more community-based support in Bassetlaw such as early help and children and family services from libraries and community centres.

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He said: “What has gone up very significantly and what is the real cause of the challenge in terms of budgets is demand for services.

“We're seeing more people who want and need to access adult social care and those who need to access children's services, and that's why we're investing that extra money in those things.”

Nottinghamshire Council is currently rolling out new family hubs, including one in Retford, with more planned in the future. Plans are also in place to build a number of youth centres in the coming year.

Coun Bradley said the council has made around £11 million of savings behind the scenes through rolling out LED streetlights, as well as reducing the number of council offices from 17 down to currently nine to reinvest the money into other services.

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The budget plans also come just a few months after councillors on the authority voted for a 4 per cent rise in their allowances based on national recommendations, which takes the minimum each of the 66 councillors receives a year to £15,894.98. The lowest paid staff were also given a pay rise of just over 10 per cent.

However, Coun Bradley said senior staff are paid “significantly below national averages” compared to other councils in the country, and that it is “certainly not a case of throwing money at people”.

He said: “In the way that every household budget has been impacted by recent high cost of living challenges, that's equally true for the county council as an organisation just as any business, and it's also true for county councillors.

“A county councillors allowance is £15,000 a year and for most of the county councillors, that is their full time position, so it's not a lot of money.

“If you look across our council both in terms of councillors and staff, we actually pay our senior staff significantly below national averages compared to most other places, and we're doing it in a climate where we are increasing services.

“We want to attract good people to be councillors, we want to be able to support people with the cost of living, including our own councillors.”