Ashfield council claims it has strongest financial position in Nottinghamshire

Ashfield District Council
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Ashfield District Council claims it is weathering the financial crisis the best of all Nottinghamshire local authorities.

Councils across the county are facing financial black holes due to rising costs, and will need to make cuts or dip into their savings in order balance their budgets.

Nottingham City Council effectively declared itself bankrupt in November.

However, Ashfield’s council is actually spending less than expected this year and won’t need to use any of its reserves.

Council leader Jason Zadrozny offered reassurance about the authority’s financial position at a Cabinet meeting on Monday (January 29).

“Ashfield District Council is in a very strong position. We’re a million miles away from the likes of Nottingham and Birmingham,” he said, referring to two authorities which have issued Section 114 notices, declaring they cannot meet their costs.

“We’ve put together our three-year medium-term financial plan in a sensible way, and our investment portfolio brings in £4m per year.

“When Nottingham City Council went and declared a Section 114 notice and all Nottinghamshire councils were consulted, we were the only one able to say we could set a balanced budget without savings this year. “

He said that government funding for councils had decreased significantly since he had entered local government, which had required new strategies.

“We’ve changed the way we work and brought in money through investment,” he said.

“We’re certainly not going to be waving the white surrender flag.”

The council’s general fund currently has a £1.1m underspend.

Deputy leader Councillor Tom Hollis (Ash Ind) pointed to major projects taking shape in the district, including the Planetarium and Science Discovery Centre, and the Kings Mill Reservoir leisure development, which are partly funded through the Towns Project.

“Look at Nottingham city and what’s happening there. Others are talking about cuts left, right and centre,” he said.

“I can’t think of any council in the county that’s providing all those bread-and-butter services while national projects are being delivered here.”

Nottingham City Council, which has a £50m funding gap for 2024/25, has put forward sweeping cuts to the services it isn’t legally required to provide, which could make 550 of its staff redundant.

Mansfield District Council is another authority in financial difficulties, with an estimated £5m shortfall over the next three years.

Its Cabinet voted last week to approve £2.2m cuts from April, which will reduce spending on events, public toilets and leisure.

Both authorities blame falling government funding on top of rising demand for services and higher inflation.

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