One of the many protests against council cuts in Nottinghamshire. Photo: Ali Tezik
One of the many protests against council cuts in Nottinghamshire. Photo: Ali Tezik

We won’t pay for crisis – no cuts, closures or job losses!

Jean Thorpe, Nottingham City UNISON (personal capacity)

Labour-run Nottingham City Council has issued a section 114 notice. This means that spending deemed ‘unnecessary’ by the Council Chief Finance Officer will cease. This will continue for at least 21 days and, within this timeframe, the City Council is required to hold a full council meeting to consider the position they are in. All services are potentially at risk. Even though the council is still legally required to deliver services to vulnerable people – including child and adult social care and for homeless people – any service could face cuts.

This is terrible news for the workforce and for our local communities. Council staff are in no way to blame for this crisis. Council unions do not have details of any proposed job losses or service cuts yet, but all cuts and other attacks should be opposed. We have already heard of possible losses running to hundreds of jobs.

The position that the city council now finds itself in is primarily a result of government underfunding since 2010 and earlier. It also includes losses from the council’s failed commercialisation strategy. Amongst other things, the city council set up its own energy company Robin Hood Energy (see ‘Nottingham City Council: The (mis)adventures of Robin Hood Energy’ at When the company collapsed in 2020, the city council lost up to £38 million and 230 jobs were lost. Further difficulties emerged in 2021 when it was discovered that the council had used £40 million from the Housing Revenue Account (money that was intended for council house repairs and improvements) on its general funds. A total of over £51 million had to be paid back.

In 2020, the city council decided to invest £17 million in a private sector regeneration of Broadmarsh Shopping Centre. When the owner Intu went into liquidation, the council had to take on responsibility for regeneration. The area remains a building site and the issue of how it will be redeveloped is still unresolved.

The council, together with other underfunded councils, should have mounted campaigns to keep the needed money, particularly after the government changed funding arrangements for councils in 2013. They reduced the direct funding from central government (known as the Revenue Support Grant) and replaced it with allowing councils to keep more of the council tax and business rates that they collect. Poorer areas raise less from these local taxes and therefore funding decreased significantly. 80% of properties in Nottingham are in council tax bands A and B (the lowest) and the council says that it gets £100 million less from central government than it did a decade ago.

Passing on the cuts

Unfortunately, so far, the city council has failed to mount a fight against this underfunding. Passing on the cuts has just invited further cuts from the Tory government. A public campaign by the council could have, and could still be, developed mobilising the workforce, trade unions, local communities and appealing to other councils, many of whom are not far off issuing section 114 notices themselves.

In the meantime, a huge response is needed by council trade unions and the trade union movement locally, going out into communities to mobilise a campaign against any cuts, for proper funding for council services and demanding councillors vote against any cuts demanded by unelected commissioners if the government imposes them.

Labour nationally, likely to lead the next government, should commit to reverse the collapse in services faced by so many councils. If, as expected, a Starmer government refuses, this highlights again the urgent need for a new workers’ party that would.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, which the Socialist Party is part of,  has opened applications to stand in the upcoming local elections. If you would like to find out more and be part of an anti-cuts stand: visit