Interviews

26.09.18

Cllr Cutts on dealing with children’s services pressures: ‘I can’t magic money out of the air’

The leader of Nottinghamshire County Council has outlined her priorities for dealing with soaring demand of children’s services and social care around the country, arguing that she cannot “magic money out of the air.”

In an interview with PSE, Cllr Kay Cutts said that Nottinghamshire CC has already overspent by £6.5m this year, with the bulk of the cash being spent on children’s services, adult social care, and transporting children to and from school.

The council is facing a budget gap of £54m; Cllr Cutts is one of the main supporters behind plans to merge the current seven district/borough authorities with the county council to create one unitary body— proposals which could lead to up to £28m in savings.

Nottinghamshire, like several other councils around the UK such as Newcastle and Swindon, are facing overspends in their budgets due to increasing demands in social care and children’s services.

“I think we have a rise in demand in society, we have more elderly people—not everyone wants social services as we get older, but of course there is a rise in demand for that,” said Cllr Cutts.

“We’re taking more children in to care; I’m sorry to say that, it’s very sad. We’re dealing with parents who are drug addicts, or alcoholics, or children with only one parent, or they might be at risk of abuse some way.

“We can’t leave those children at home. We have to take them into care whether they can afford it or not; because I do not want to see any child suffer because of their family home life. If we have to do that, that’s what we’ll have to do. That will be one of my priorities.”

If the merger plans do not go ahead, Cllr Cutts added, the council will end up doing “no more” than the bare-bones statutory services.

“I can’t magic money out of the air, if I could I would have waved my magic wand a long time ago.  I can only live within the money that we have,” added the council leader.

“We have rising costs; we have a £6.5m overspent this year, already. That’s gone on children’s services, adult social care, and transporting disabled children to school. The only way we can fill those gaps is finding a way of getting more money into the council system which we’ve done by raising the council tax by 5% last year.”

Yesterday Cllr Cutts rejected calls for a public referendum on the merger and argued that Nottinghamshire CC is the “most transparent and open council there is.”

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Image credit: vejaa

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