Council sets out plan to address budget deficit

Mansfield District Council's Cabinet is proposing a series of measures to address a £2.176m budget deficit for 2024/25 including a 2.99% rise in council tax and an increase in housing rents of 7.7%.

The Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) also sets out a savings plan to meet a projected continued shortfall in funds of £5m to 2026/27. The budget proposals show a use of reserves in 2024/25 only.

In a report from the Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Finance to Cabinet, to be considered on 15 January in a public meeting, proposals have also been made to deliver a number of efficiencies across various council departments to save money.

Mansfield District Council is due to agree its annual budget and Medium-Term Financial Plan at the meeting of the Full Council on 23 January. 

The report comes at a time when the council faces significant financial challenges that require the council to make radical changes to the delivery of services.

The overall aim of the MTFP is to provide a balanced and sustainable programme of funding and bring stability to those critical services and statutory duties that the council must lawfully carry out.

The decision to reduce, stop and change service delivery has been informed by the results of a budget consultation exercise which took place from 15 September to 6 October 2023.

Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “It has been well documented that we have some tough choices to make so that the council has long-term financial stability. Like many councils, Mansfield has experienced a reduction in government funding, coupled with the increased inflation and costs of delivering services, we must find efficiencies.

“It means that we have to reduce services and apply our resources so that we can continue to provide the essential services that are most needed in our communities.

“These have been tough decisions to make and we are very mindful that this will have an impact on our workforce and require huge transformational changes in some of our service areas.

“We know that our colleagues are ready for the challenge and are determined to make the council a successful organisation that meets the needs of the people it serves.”

The plan to achieve more than £5m in savings from 2024 to 2027 is set out in Appendix 2 of the report with a detailed list of proposals including:

  • Around £1m saving in establishment costs across discretionary services and leadership teams
  • Council tax increase of 2.99% each year for three years
  • Reduced opening hours at Mansfield Museum
  • Reduced operating budget for Mansfield Market
  • Closure of public toilets in Warsop and Mansfield Woodhouse
  • Fewer floral displays
  • A significant reduction in funding for events
  • Savings in promotional activities including ceasing the printed production of My Mansfield
  • Decreases in grants and support to business and third sector

Whilst the council will receive a Revenue Support Grant from the government of £452,000 in 2024/25, which was the anticipated amount, the authority is facing significant reductions in the Services Grant which has been cut by £121,000 and the New Homes Bonus which is £366,000 lower than in 2023/24.

During the same period, the council is committed to delivering a capital programme of more than £42m. This includes flagship developments funded by the Towns Fund and Levelling Up such as Mansfield Connect, Berry Hill Destination Park, Warsop Health Hub and Smart Mansfield.

Funding has also been identified to invest in community facilities including park pavilions and improvements to the theatre, museum, and to car parks.

From the Housing Revenue Account, the council will also deliver a £40m new-build programme by 2027 across three major housing schemes at Centenary Road, Town Centre and on the Bellamy and Oak Tree estates.
Mayor Abrahams said: “It isn’t all doom and gloom. There is a huge amount of opportunity for the council to deliver various significant grant-funded projects.

“We will continue to collaborate with partners to help maximise funding and achieve our ambitions as set out in the council’s Corporate Plan, the Local Plan and the new place strategy for Mansfield.

“We remain optimistic for the future and the people of Mansfield should feel confident that Mansfield District Council is ready for the challenge and is able to deliver the changes needed.”

The agenda and reports can be viewed on our meetings portal (opens in new window)

Published: January 5th 2024