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Notts Cuts Watch #7 (Concerned of Notts) | 28.11.2010 20:23

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.


1) “Internet minister” and public schoolboy Ed Vaizey was in Notttingham on Friday, but managed to avoid protesters eager to challenge him about the Coalition government’s cuts.

Vaizey Vanishes, Nottingham Indymedia

2) The CWU have finally decided the only way to get Anna Soubry MP to listen to them is to actually go down there and present her with a giant postcard.

…along with 600 letters from workers at Nottingham APC (The Beeston Ryland based sorting office) stating very clearly that they opposed Soubry’s support for the privatisation of the Royal Mail. This rather makes her claim in the House of Commons that (quoting Hansard)

“In my constituency there are 700 postal workers at the Beeston Sorting Office. To my knowledge, not one of them has written to urge me not to support the Bill. Two of them came to the Commons today to ask me not to support it-two in 700.”

Beestonia and The Giant Postcard, Beestonia’s Blog


1)RUSHCLIFFE, Newark and Sherwood and Gedling are the three most expensive places to buy houses in Notts, a new report has revealed.

East Midlands Home Truths 2010 warns that house prices in the region have increased faster than the national average, leaving many people unable to afford to buy.

A 90 per cent mortgage on an average home in the East Midlands now requires an income of more than £40,600.

The three least affordable local authority areas in Notts are:
Click here for more

Rushcliffe: £212,742 average house price – 8.9 times higher than the £23,920 average income.

Newark & Sherwood: £168,060 average house price – nine times higher than the £18,746 average income.

Gedling: £149,345 average house price – 7.2 times higher than the £20,774 average income.

The cheapest place in the East Midlands to buy a home is Ashfield, where the average house price is £114,245 – 6.1 times higher than the £18,632 average income.

The report comes after the Government’s decision to cut the affordable housebuilding budget by 63 per cent last month.

Higher prices put homes out of reach for Notts residents, Nottingham Post

2) A HOUSING repair scheme for ‘vulnerable’ home owners and private-sector tenants in Hucknall and the rest of Ashfield is to be axed amid spending cuts.

The ‘Care And Repair’ service, run jointly by Ashfield and Mansfield District Councils, helps people in these categories who are elderly, disabled or on a low income.

Local building contractors are used to carry out maintenance and adaptations to the homes.

The service is being discontinued because Notts County Council is removing its Supporting People funding from April 1 next year. It will mean a saving of £173,000.

A county council spokesman said it was planning to replace ‘Care And Repair’ with another scheme called ‘Handy Persons’ Repairs’, which was being launched in Ashfield and Mansfield and would eventually become county-wide.

“The scheme puts people in touch with local firms to help them deal with small jobs in their homes,” said the spokesman.

Home-repair help for vulnerable axed, Hucknall Dispatch

Newark and Sherwood District Council

Jobs are set to go at Newark and Sherwood District Council as it looks for ways to save £71/2m over the next four years.

The cabinet meets next Thursday when it will be asked to approve proposals to axe 40.6 full-time equivalent jobs.

The current workforce is 443 full-time equivalent.

More than half the council’s expenditure is on staffing.

Chief executive Mr Andrew Muter said they would ask for volunteers but anticipated there would have to be some compulsory redundancies.

40 council jobs set to be axed, Newark Advertiser

Nottingham City Council

1) THE Government has said it will not fund the £200 million project to redevelop The Meadows.

Nottingham City Council has already spent over £700,000 to develop the proposals, which included hundreds of better homes and improvements to street layouts.

But on Monday the Department for Communities and Local Government has announced it will not provide cash for any more private finance initiatives to improve homes if work to award contracts has not started.

Nottingham City Council was just about to begin procurement work on the contracts and will miss out on the funding for The Meadows as a result.

Nottingham City Council was allocated a £200 million PFI Credit from the Government in July 2009 for a major housing regeneration scheme in The Meadows.

An Outline Business Case (OBC), which shows what the scheme could look like and how it could be achieved, was submitted to the Government for final approval in October 2010.

The scheme would have been delivered over the next 25 years. It included 520 refurbished council houses, 330 new “affordable rented” homes, 160 flats turned into 80 family houses and 702 “unpopular” properties demolished.

The scheme also included the redesign of street layouts, refurbishment and improvements to remaining council properties, new family housing and improved parking facilities.

Government axes The Meadows redevelopment scheme, Nottingham Post
Government axes £200 Million PFI scheme for Meadows Neighbourhood Redevelopment, Nottingham City Council

2) THE head of a charity for homeless people has warned that hundreds more people will be forced to live on the streets – and more rough sleepers will die – if savage budget cut proposals go ahead.

The city council is set to axe funding for 207 bed spaces for homeless people – including young women, people with mental health issues and those fighting drug and alcohol problems.

It is part of a bid to save £4.5 million in the city council’s Supporting People budget this year. Meanwhile, the county council is seeking to cut its own equivalent budget between 44 per cent and 67 per cent in the next four years.

This would see homeless charity Framework – which receives most of its funding from Supporting People grants – facing a fall in its county budget from £6.9 million to between £2.3 million and £3.9 million over four years.

Charity’s warning over homeless deaths if cuts go ahead, Nottingham Post
Nottingham City Council axes funding for more than 200 beds, Nottingham Post

3) The Post had two major bad news stories on Monday. One about NCC cutting over 200 places in homelessness hostels, the other about the government deciding not to fund the PFI scheme to do up the Meadows.

Only one of these stories made it to the council’s homepage, can you guess which one it is?

Keep the Public Informed…When It Suits You, NCC LOLs

4) AN historic swimming baths in New Basford is to go under the hammer next month.

Nottingham property agent Heb is selling the Noel Street teaching pool that opened in the 1930s and formed part of the former leisure complex.

It is being auctioned on the instructions of Nottingham City Council and has a price guide of £175,000 to £190,000.

The auction will feature a total of 25 lots, including commercial property, houses and a development sites.The commercial lots include The King of Diamonds pub in Shirebrook and Windsor Garage in Ellis Road, Beeston.

There are also 22 residential properties at various locations across Notts and Derbyshire.

“Our auctions this year have been very successful and we’re delighted at how they’ve turned out. It makes us feel particularly optimistic about this. It’s going to a great end to a fantastic year,” said Mr Hilton.

The auction is on December 14 at Nottingham Belfry Hotel, Mellors Way, Strelley, at 2.30pm.

Historic baths go under the hammer, Nottingham Post

5) NCC LOLs has managed to get sight of some of the emails that were exchanged between Nottingham Studios’ representatives and NCC when negotiations started to turn sour. You may recall that NS were somewhat unhappy about having to allow some of the community groups to stay on in the building for an indeterminate period. NS were quibbling over the rent that NCC were going to pay on the groups’ behalf.

NCC had received an alternative much greater offer for the building yet were still pushing for a sale to NS for a much lower figure, completion of which would have cost them even more for renting half of it back.

Essentially, it is clear that, even before the serious incompetence set in with legal services’ failure to give the tenants proper notice, NCC was already nearly £200k down. For some reason, it seems that somebody high up really wanted the building to go to Nottingham Studios.

It’s That Radford Unity Complex Again, NCC LOLs

6) NEW research claims the city of Nottingham will be among the top ten hardest hit areas outside London when the Government cuts council funding.

Nottingham City Council receives a smaller proportion of its income from council tax than other local authorities.

It was given 63 per cent of its total budget by the Government this year, which is one of the highest levels in the country.

The figures, published by the Local Government Association and the Labour party, show only seven other councils were given a higher proportion of their income by central Government.

Labour ministers have argued this will leave urban areas worse off when the Government announces cuts to councils’ formula grants next month.

Nottingham to be one of the "hardest hit" areas by Government cuts outside London, Nottingham Post

7) NOTTINGHAM City Council has been criticised for spending almost £4,000 of taxpayers’ money on a Christmas tree for its headquarters.

The 35ft artificial tree will sit in the main atrium of Loxley House in Station Street.

The council is seeking sponsorship to meet the cost of the £5,000 tree, but so far it has only received just over £1,000.

Notts County Council has a second-hand Christmas tree in its reception at County Hall, which was donated about five years ago.

Martin Allen, senior organiser of union GMB Midland and East Coast, said: "When there is a time of austerity and our members are facing redundancy decisions like this need to be evaluated seriously to see whether taxpayers are getting value for money.

“The GMB certainly isn’t cancelling Christmas in any way, shape or form. When we were on a protest last Saturday it was nice to see the Christmas tree going up in Slab Square – but that’s for the people of Nottingham to enjoy.”

City Council spends £4,000 on a Christmas tree for its office, Nottingham Post

Nottinghamshire County Council

1) THOUSANDS of vulnerable people will be left without support due to county council cuts, according to the chairman of Notts Supporting People Provider Forum.

The council is looking at a cut of between 44% and 67% on its supporting people budget.

The budget helps more than 14,000 people in Notts including older people, people with learning disabilities, disabled people, people with mental health problems, women and children fleeing domestic violence, young people and care leavers, ex-offenders, people with substance misuse problems and homeless people.

The Government is reducing the Supporting People Grant for councils by 12.5% over the next four years.

But Lucy Cooper, the chair of the Supporting People Provider Forum, said the cuts in Notts would be much harsher.

She said: “We are extremely concerned by Notts County Council’s budget proposals to cut funding in this area by £10 to £15 million over the next four years. This is a budget reduction of almost 50 to 70% which is 4 to 6 times the level of reduction in funding the local authority will receive to deliver these services locally.”

Notts County Council cuts will leave ‘thousands of vulnerable people’ without support, Nottingham Post

2) Guests at a civic service organised by Nottinghamshire County Council could be left feeling peckish as cost cutting means the usual finger buffet will be scaled down.

Instead, about 350 guests, including civic dignitaries, at the event in Southwell Minster in June, will be served tea and a slice of cake.

The new menu should cost £1 per guest, reducing the cost to £350 compared with the £2,800 cost of this summer’s buffet.

The total cost for the service next year would be £2,089, a saving of about £2,000 on this year.

Catering cost-cuts just take the biscuit, Newark Advertiser


Nottinghamshire police are considering compulsory retirement for officers with 30 years’ service or more, as part of their cost-cutting agenda.

The force has sent proposals to the police authority which will be debated further on 15 December.

The proposals also include voluntary and compulsory redundancies of other police staff.

The force will find out in December exactly how much it will receive in government funding.

Nottinghamshire police consider senior redundancies, BBC Nottingham
Notts cops could be forced to retire on efficiency grounds, Nottingham Post

Public transport

ANY last hopes that the Government might electrify rail track between Nottingham and London in the near future took a heavy blow yesterday.

Business groups and politicians argue that electrifying the Midland Mainline would mean trains running between the two cities could carry more passengers, be faster and more environmentally-friendly.

They had hoped the Government might approve the route’s upgrade despite cuts to public spending, but the Post reported last week that ministers planned to shelve the scheme.

Yesterday Transport Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed the news when he announced how the Government would invest in rail infrastructure over the course of the next Parliament.

A spokesman from the Department for Transport said: "Electrification is still important and we still continue to assess the Midland Mainline scheme but it is not wrapped up in this spending announcement.

“However we certainly don’t rule out Midland Mainline electrification for the future.”

Hopes of boost to Midland Mainline services dealt heavy blow, Nottingham Post


1) GEDLING councillors have pledged their support for the campaign to save a school.

Members of the borough council met county council service director for learning and achievement John Slater for talks over the future of Gedling School yesterday.

The county council is due to decide on December 15 whether to begin consulting on a recommendation for the phased closure of the 639-pupil school from August 2012.

But yesterday’s meeting discussed ways to keep the school open.

Concerns were raised about figures the county council was using to support the closure proposal.

“The school thinks it has 100 spaces whereas the council thinks it is 300 pupils short” he said, “so we think the figures they are using make a false case for the closure.”

Borough councillors pledge support for campaign to save Gedling School, Nottingham Post

2) A Government schools’ minister was in Newark today to see for himself the dire state of the Grove, Magnus and Orchard schools.
All three were promised millions of pounds under Building Schools for the Future – a programme axed by the newly-elected coalition Government when it came to power.

Lord Hill of Oareford, under-secretary of state for schools, toured all three schools and met with parents.

He was unable to give any assurances over the long-term futures of any of the schools he visited but said money was available nationally to be prioritised in the New Year.

Minister’s schools’ visit, Newark Advertiser

3) Around 100 student from Toot Hill School, Bingham, gathered in the Market Place this morning to protest against the proposed increase in university tuition fees.

The protest, staged from 9am-10am, was part of a national event that saw college and university students walk out of lessons across the country.

Students make fees protest, Newark Advertiser


1) Nottingham students, including the reigning Miss England, have been voicing their opposition to the planned rise in tuition fees.

About 100 students intended to hold a “teach-in” and occupy a room at Nottingham University.

Law student Jessica Linley – crowned Miss England in September – has spoken in support of the action, calling the government plans “unacceptable”.

Miss England backs Nottingham fees protest, BBC Notttingham

2) Around 60 students from Nottingham University gathered on the steps of the portland Building at 2PM. They marched to the Trent Building where they demanded to see the Vice Chancellor. Coincidentally, the VC was on holiday and students regrouped outside one of the libraries. A teach in was planned for 4PM.

Day of Action 24/11/2010 Nottingham, Notttingham Indymedia (Concerned of Notts)