Notts Cuts Watch #5Tagged as: austerity cuts local_communities work
Published by group: Notts Save Our Services
An (incomplete) overview of how the age of austerity has affected Nottingham and Notinghamshire over the last week or so. This is largely culled from various local media outlets, so apologies for some of the dodgy analysis.
Ashfield District Council
THE LEADER of Ashfield District Council has warned of tough times ahead after Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that councils across England would have their funding slashed by 7.1% a year for four years.
“People have yet to feel the real impact of these cuts,” said Coun Knight.
“But make no mistake, while the announcements that have been made in London seem remote and unfathomable at present, all cuts are local ultimately.
“For a district like Ashfield, which has a high proportion of residents who rely on their council in some way, whether through social housing, benefits, or supported care for the elderly or children, this is going to be a hard, difficult time.”
Council leader warns of ‘hard times’ ahead, Hucknall Dispatch
1) WORKPLACE nurseries at Bassetlaw and Doncaster hospitals will close due to major money pressures, health chiefs have announced.
The decision to shut the Sunshine and Carousel nurseries, based at Bassetlaw Hospital and Doncaster Royal Infirmary respectively, was made last week “with a heavy heart”, says Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals Foundation Trust.
But health chiefs have refuted claims by MP John Mann that this could be the start of moves to eventually close the hospital itself and sell the site.
2) HEALTH services for children, long term illnesses and substance misuse in Bassetlaw look set to be managed by a provider outside the district under new plans.
NHS Bassetlaw last week announced the names of the local organisations it wants to take over management of the community services which are currently provided by its arms- length organisation, Bassetlaw Community Health.
The Government has asked Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to transfer all their front line services to new providers by March 31, 2011.
1) MINISTERS have confirmed the Government is to change the way councils apply for money to upgrade housing.
It said it would commit £2 billion to the previous administration’s Decent Home Programme to upgrade social housing – £900 million less than Labour had promised.
Government confirms changes to Decent Home Programme, Nottingham Post
2) THE company that runs council housing in Bassetlaw has sent out a letter to tenants warning them of big potential cuts to the warden service.
In the letter, A1 Housing says Notts County Council’s Supporting People team, which funds much of the warden service, could have its budget cut from 47 per cent to 68 per cent.
It warns that any reduction in funding would mean cuts to the warden service.
The possible cuts mapped out in the letter were:
No on-site sheltered warden
A quarterly visiting service only
No weekly or monthly visiting warden to bungalows or flats
No out of hours warden call-out service
A1 Housing added that it will be urging Notts County Council to rethink the proposed level of cuts and also reminded tenants to make their views on the subject known.
3) ALMOST 15,000 people across Notts will be hit by Government cuts to housing benefit – with some losing out by as much as £50 per week.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions have revealed how much people in the county will lose on average, depending on how many bedrooms they have.
The Government has said people living in a one bedroom house or flat in the city will lose an average of £15 per week, but those in a five-bed house will lose an average of £30 per week. In Rushcliffe the figures are the highest in the county, at £15 and £51 respectively.
Representations on why Newark Magistrates’ Court and County Court should be saved were never received by the judge overseeing a review into which courts should close.
According to the chairman of the Newark bench, Mrs Pam White, Senior Presiding Judge Lord Justice Goldring admitted, at a chairman of benches meeting in Birmingham, those representations must have gone astray.
They will be resent as a matter of urgency.
Lord Justice Goldring favours closure of the Newark courts, with one reason being the absence of local representations to the contrary.
The closure of Worksop and Retford are also favoured, which would leave Nottinghamshire with only Mansfield and Nottingham magistrates’ courts. Newark cases would be heard at Nottingham.
A decision is expected on December 14.
The case against court closure goes astray, Newark Advertiser
Nottingham City Council
1) WHEN Nottingham City Council set its budget for this financial year, it had to find £18 million in savings.
Services for people with learning disabilities, the elderly and the deaf community were affected and 200 job losses were expected.
Now it is looking to find almost three times as much to balance the books for next year – and more than 700 jobs are feared to be at risk.
Unison have said they expect anything up to about 1,000 job losses.
2) The local election is on next May and if people wrote to their councillors to raise their concerns about the lack of action over Discretionary Housing Paymentss and their concern about the post benefit cuts future they might take a bit of notice.
Nottinghamshire County Council
A GOVERNMENT Minister has said he is “opposed to high salaries in the public sector” after an MP raised concerns over the amount paid to Nottinghamshire County Council’s improvement director.
Labour MP Vernon Coaker highlighted the issue over the £110,000 salary in August.
In his written response, Conservative MP Grant Shapps said the Department for Communities and Local Government was calling for more transparency on workforce and pay matters in local government.
He said the department had published draft guidance calling on councils to publish online information on their most senior salaries and all spending over £500.
But he said it would be inappropriate for ministers to intervene any local authority recruitment exercise
NOTTINGHAM City Council has been criticised after raising some of its city centre car parking charges by more than three times the rate of inflation.
The price for parking at Broadmarsh, Trinity Square and Fletcher Gate multi-storey car parks for up to two hours has risen from £2.80 to £3.10, an increase of more than 10 per cent. Inflation is running at 3.1 per cent.
Parking for up to three hours in these car parks has increased by more than six per cent, from £4.50 to £4.80, and for four hours it has gone up from £5.80 to £6.
There have also been increases at Brook Street car park and Canal Street car park.
Councillor Jane Urquhart, portfolio holder for transport at the Labour-controlled city council, defended the increase, which she brought in on October 18.
Mrs Urquhart said: "The decision has come in a very challenging financial environment where, as a result of decisions by the new Government, our own sources of funding are decreasing and we need to cover our own costs by developing our commercial services.
MORE than 40 construction jobs are to go in Nottingham after the company, Rok, went into administration.
The Exeter-based builders called in administrators on Monday amid growing financial difficulties.
The Nottingham operation followed Rok’s acquisition of Sol Construction four years ago for £19 million.
Around 3,800 jobs face an uncertain future nationally.
Administrators PwC said 42 construction jobs would go in Nottingham, while nine jobs were being retained to progress debt collection and retentions.
40 jobs go at Rok in Nottingham, Nottingham Post
1) CAMPAIGNERS say the clock is ticking to draw up a plan of action against the proposed closure of Gedling School.
A campaign group called 40 Days to Save Gedling School has been set up to underline the time until Notts County Council makes a decision over the school’s future.
The council’s cabinet is due to decide on December 15 whether to consult on a recommendation for a phased closure of the 639-pupil school from August 2012.
2) Campaigners are making a final push for people to sign a petition calling for desperately needed investment in Newark’s secondary schools before a Government minister visits the town.
The Support Our Schools Campaign wants at least 5,000 names on the petition, which will be handed to schools minister Lord Hill a week on Tuesday.
Lord Hill is set to visit the Grove, Orchard and Magnus schools, which require rebuilding or major refurbishment.
The petition can be signed online at sos-newark.btck.co.uk
Final push for schools, Newark Advertiser
1) STUDENTS coming to Nottingham will have to pay enough tuition fees to plug a £112 million black-hole in its two universities’ budgets, it has been claimed.
Coalition ministers have already announced they will allow universities to increase fees to recoup money lost because of cuts to Government funding.
But the Labour Party has commissioned research it claims reveals the scale of cuts fee-paying students will be asked to cover.
The statistics suggest the University of Nottingham will have 48 per cent, some £45 million, cut from its central teaching grant, while Nottingham Trent could have 86 per cent – some £67 million – of its teaching grant slashed.
City students to plug £112m fees black hole, it is claimed, Nottingham Post
2) Around 650 students from the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University, Castle College and New College Nottingham were among 50,000 who descended on the capital on Wednesday to rally against Government plans to cut higher education cash and remove a cap on university tuition fees.
However, the demonstration descended into violence when a group of protesters smashed their way into the headquarters of the Conservative Party at Millbank Tower.
Nottingham students condemn education protest violence, Nottingham Post
Nottingham Students Make their Mark, University of Nottingham Students Union