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KCC cabinet member in new warning over council finances after Nottingham declares bankrupcy

A senior Conservative has issued a grim reminder of the authority's parlous financial predicament less than a day after another major council went bust.

Cllr Rory Love, cabinet member for education, warned of the need to stand firm over proposed cuts after Nottingham City Council was forced to admit it is bankrupt.

Cllr Rory Love has warned Kent could follow Nottingham and Birmingham into bankrupcy
Cllr Rory Love has warned Kent could follow Nottingham and Birmingham into bankrupcy

Nottingham joins Birmingham City Council in issuing section 114 notices, which is indicates it can no longer pay the bills for the services it provides.

Cllr Love spoke during a debate on a report on the Kent Communities Programme, which details a response to cutbacks to community services.

Kent County Council, squeezed by falling income and hit by soaring bills, still needs to find tens of millions of pounds in savings this year and, according to its auditors, £86m next year.

He told a meeting of Kent County Council's cabinet: "I am acutely aware if we were not to get our revenue spending under control, we would be looking at a different set of options.

"We would be looking at the options presented to the residents in Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council or as we heard yesterday in Labour-controlled Nottingham City Council because that’s what happens when spending continues without taking into account of the income - and our income is from the council tax payer.

Jonathan Carr-West
Jonathan Carr-West

"There’s always a good reason for spending somebody else’s money but we have got to rein that in."

Nottingham was issued with a section 114 notice and faces the prospect of being taken over by government-appointed commissioners. Only essential services will be provided.

Corporate director for finance and resources, Ross Brown, made the determination after considering the council’s financial position. Despite making budget adjustments and drawing on reserves, the authority fell short by £23m.

Despite this, Mr Brown cited a “highly volatile” operating environment and wider economic context” with “small changes in demand disproportionately materialising in large financial pressures, particularly in social care and homelessness”.

Chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) Jonathan Carr-West told LDRS: "The situation for local authorities, big and small, is now so precarious that it is inevitable more and more councils will issue 114 notices. Which ones or in what order they will fall is harder to guess. All the large councils, like Kent, are in severe financial distress."

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