A plan to abolish district and borough councils has taken a step forward after £270,000 in funding was approved to draw up a business plan.
The budget approved today will be spent on legal advice for Nottingham County Council’s detailed plan, as well as on consultation ahead of the final proposal.
There will then be a final vote on the scheme shortly after the local elections for district and borough councils in May next year.
In a meeting at County Hall today, the council leader Kay Cutts, who represents the Radcliffe-on-Trent ward for the Conservatives, denied that the plan was being drawn up ‘in secret’ and said that the council was forced to find savings one way or another.
She said if the super council – also known as a unitary authority – did not go ahead, then the council would be forced to cut services in order to make £54 million in savings over the next four years.
However this was dismissed as ‘Project Fear’ by Alan Rhodes, the leader of the Labour group.
Councillor Cutts said: “We currently spend £10 million on children’s centres. That is one of the services we would probably have to reduce by more than half.
“That’s what it will mean if we don’t make some savings across the council. These are the sort of services that will go.”
Speaking about the current system of having district councils as well as a county council, she said: “Members of the public think this system is broken, and it’s time we looked at it. Because they’re the ones footing the bill.
“If we make the savings which I think will be made, then they will be the ones who will substantially gain from it.”
But Labour councillor Kevin Greaves opposed the spending, and said: “I find this abhorrent, spending £270,000 of hard-earned public money on this vanity project.
“You haven’t had the courage to speak to local districts about it.
“We are struggling with front-line services, but yet you can find £250,000, which is really going to be more like £500,000.
“I don’t support this, and I never will.”