Bassetlaw Council leader sends letter to chancellor Jeremy Hunt over ‘protecting’ local authority spending ahead of fiscal plan

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The leader of Bassetlaw Council has written to the new Chancellor to ask him to stand up for Bassetlaw – and insists the local community should not pay the price for “politicians’ mistakes”.

Last month, new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced plans to cut public spending following the catastrophic effects of former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini budget.

In an attempt to stabilise Britain’s economic crisis, Mr Hunt’s medium-term fiscal plan is expected to involve tens of billions of pounds worth of public spending cuts – with councils coming under direct fire.

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The mid-term fiscal plan was originally scheduled to be published on October 31, but has been delayed to November 17, and will be upgraded to a full Autumn Statement.

Councillor James Naish, leader of Bassetlaw District Council.Councillor James Naish, leader of Bassetlaw District Council.
Councillor James Naish, leader of Bassetlaw District Council.

In a letter to the Government, Coun James Naish, Bassetlaw Council leader, urged Mr Hunt to protect and prioritise local government funding, stating families in Bassetlaw should not have to lose services to help cover the cost of “financial incompetence”.

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Coun Naish, who was elected as council leader in September, warned “we are all poorer” as a result of the mini budget.

He said: “Mortgages are up, energy prices are rising, food prices are soaring and the cost of borrowing has gone through the roof.

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“None of us voted for this failed experiment, including a majority of Tory MPs – and as the leader of Bassetlaw District Council, I don’t want this area to be punished for politicians’ mistakes.

“Local services were already under serious strain due to years of austerity-related cuts, increased demand, the aftermath of the pandemic and inflation.

“Despite this, we still need to build affordable housing, to support small and local businesses, to empty bins, to keep streets clean, to look after social housing, to maintain high-quality public parks and green spaces, to run leisure centres and to regenerate our town centres.

“Families in Bassetlaw shouldn’t lose services or sacrifice local investment to help cover the cost of financial incompetence. That is why I am calling on you to protect and prioritise local authority funding.

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“We are doing what we can locally to support families through the cost-of-living crisis and want to continue to provide the support and services that people need – but we can only do this if you support Bassetlaw District Council and other local authorities.”