In the coming week’s Councils across the country will be laying out their Budgets, and their plans for public services in 2023/24. It’s hugely important to residents because it’s these decisions that impact on the quality of the local services that we use and experience in our communities.
It’s been a challenging year for everyone, and Councils are no different. Just as rising costs and inflation are impacting people at home, they are for Councils too. As I’ve sought to explain in recent months, the impact of inflation on the County Council comes to some £24m this year. That means delivering the same services in the same way next year, will cost £24m more than it did last year.
We can’t do that, so we’ve been working hard to try and mitigate those costs, and to limit the impact. Because of that hard work we’re actually in a relatively decent position compared to other areas. Many Councils around the country are considering major cuts to services, but here in Nottinghamshire that’s not the case. We hope that we’ll be able to actually deliver a better offer in the future, rather than a reduced one.
With next year’s Budget I want to be able to move us further towards our long term aim, which is a more focused and financially sustainable Council, offering better quality services in your community. That means we’ll prioritise key services in places that most need them, and we’ll get out of doing things we don’t need to do, such as by having fewer office buildings, for example.
We’re looking to transform the way we deliver adults and children’s care over time. In the future we will be more proactive, helping people earlier and within their local communities through things like our children’s centres and library network, so that we can help people remain independent, with fewer people needing expensive residential care in children’s homes or care homes.
Helping people earlier, and in their local community, is the only way that we can tackle the ever-increasing level of demand on care services, and the only way we can hope to make those services sustainable for the future. We need help from residents too. We need people to foster vulnerable children. We need people to look out for their neighbours and their family. Our Council will help to rebuild and support local communities to do that for each other.
I fully recognise that it isn’t sustainable to keep going round a cycle of rising Council Tax and cuts to services every year, as has often happened in the past. That’s why we’re working to ensure that we’re getting the best value for residents, sucking up some of those rising costs within the Council so we can avoid passing on the maximum levels of tax rises to residents, and actually offering better services for your money instead of reducing things. No more paying more and getting less.
Full details are set to be released next week, but we’re working to ensure that Mansfield residents get more help and more investment in our communities in return for our Council Tax. By protecting and enhancing our children’s services, youth services, libraries and more within Mansfield, we’ll do more to support people for the future.