'No time for dithering'

Call for Robert Jenrick to reimburse Nottingham council for Covid-19 costs

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Communities secretary Robert Jenrick has been urged by Unite to get out his cheque book to plug the hole in Nottingham city council’s finances due to coronavirus and avoid more than 150 posts being axed.

The city council is planning to plug the £62 million financial shortfall due to extra costs racked up by the pandemic by cutting more than 150 posts.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (July 23) called on communities secretary Robert Jenrick, who represents the Nottinghamshire seat of Newark, to reimburse the city council for the extra costs generated by combating Covid-19.

The union said that this latest development has to be seen against a background of a Tory austerity regime that has targeted local government over the last decade and resulted in council workers’ pay being slashed by 20 per cent in real terms.

Unite regional officer Larry McGlinchey said,“Nottingham city council has announced a number of voluntary and potential compulsory redundancies which could see more than 150 posts axed out of the 6,500-strong workforce.

“Council bosses are adopting these cost cutting measures in an attempt to plug a £62.2 million deficit due to the effects of the current pandemic,” he added.

“The authority is discussing with central government the reimbursement of the additional costs that it has incurred.

“This is no time for dithering by communities secretary Robert Jenrick who represents the nearby Nottinghamshire seat of Newark – he needs to act quickly to fully reimburse the city council for the extra costs it has incurred,” McGlinchey went on to say.

“Local authority workers, who have been providing essential services to the people of Nottingham during the pandemic, are now going to lose their employment due to the inaction of Whitehall.

“And this is just the beginning of an extensive number of cost cutting exercises as the authority struggles to balance its books in line with its legal requirements,” he continued.

“This will not only affect our members, but will have an adverse impact on the services that the authority provides to the people of Nottingham.

“Cutting jobs is not the answer – such action would be short sighted and will not address the fundamental issue of local authority underfunding which affects not just Nottingham, but hard-pressed councils across the country.”

By Shaun Noble

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