Nottingham

Nottinghamshire County Council 'shocked' at budget hole

County Hall
Image caption The council said the funding situation was 'worse than anticipated'

A county council has claimed a £133m budget hole has increased to £154m over three years, meaning more job losses and service cuts for residents.

Labour-run Nottinghamshire County Council said they had expected a £38m funding cut following George Osborne's spending review, but that had increased to £50m over two years.

It said a further £10m cut in 2016/17 will leave it with a £154m hole.

But the Conservative opposition claimed the figures had not changed.

'Bad to worse'

Council leader Alan Rhodes said the situation had arisen as a result of a proposal to give money the council usually receives from the government for developing new housing - the New Homes Bonus - to the Local Enterprise Partnership instead.

The council also faced a reduction to the Revenue Support Grant.

"The situation has gone from bad to worse," said Mr Rhodes.

"We came into office in May knowing we faced an extremely challenging situation. But it's even worse than we anticipated.

"The proposal to transfer the New Homes Bonus to the Local Enterprise Partnership means we have less say in how it's spent.

"It's money we could have spent on services in Nottinghamshire.

"For the people of Nottinghamshire, life is going to be much harder than we thought it was going to be."

He defended the council for underestimating the original funding cuts.

"The information from government doesn't come all at once," he said.

"It comes out over a period of time. As it does so, there are calculations that need to be made by the council."

But Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood said the council's funding had not changed since the spending review.

He said: "Alan's trying to soften us up so he can put up the council tax next May and make sure the hard-working people of Nottinghamshire are picking up the bill, rather than him working out his sums a bit better."

He said the council could bid to the Local Enterprise Partnership - D2N2 - if it wished to access the New Homes Bonus funding.

"There are lots of options available to the council. It just requires a bit of hard work," he said.

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