In recent months I've led a campaign alongside colleagues from Councils and in Parliament to ensure that we support local Councils to deliver vital services to vulnerable people.
Where budgets are squeezed it’s often children's services and adult social care that can come under pressure. These services are complex, expensive to run, and Councils have a legal duty to provide them - but increasingly not enough money to do so.
I’m really pleased to say that our campaign has led to Government amending the recent Local Government settlement and increasing funding for these services. It’s massive news and it’s worth an extra HALF A BILLION pounds to be shared with Councils across the country!
I can’t overstate how much of a massive win this is! For many around the UK, this funding will be the difference between closing a library or a children's centre, or not, and saving that community from those impacts.
That is very welcome indeed, and especially for our town, which receives a really high proportion of that type of funding from Notts County Council. This new cash means we can protect Mansfield’s youth centres, children’s centres and libraries.
It means we can continue to build on recent multi-million-pound Levelling Up investments into youth centres and family hubs across some of our most disadvantaged estates like Bellamy and Oak Tree.
It’s obviously true that some Councils are in a mess through their own mistakes, and those that have gone bust like Nottingham or Birmingham have shown high profile waste and bad local decisions. We’ve seen recently in Mansfield District Council’s budget announcements just how important it is to stay on top of the finances in order to prevent the need for cuts to services.
Fortunately Nottinghamshire County Council is a well-run and a financially stable authority, and we’re in a relatively decent position compared to many. That said, we're still under huge pressure from the rising demand and cost of care services, for both children and adults.
In Nottinghamshire, this extra money will give us the space to continue delivering quality services and help us to navigate those pressures and reduce the impact on communities and taxpayers, which can only be good news. I hope that it will give us the breathing space we need to add further to our funding for fixing the roads, which I know is a big priority for residents.
We’re also lucky in our part of the world to be able to look ahead to May, and the election of a mayor for the East Midlands. As part of that Combined Authority, things like funding for transport and fixing the roads will go to our new mayor.
This is good news, as Councils will be able to divert more existing cash to social care and other important services, whilst the new regional Mayor and Combined Authority brings in a load of new investment for our infrastructure and our economy.
It's always rewarding when you work hard to achieve something, and you get results! I’m pleased that through my dual role of Council leader and local MP, I’m able to influence decisions like this on local funding, especially as I know the impact this is going to have on communities.