Commissioners sent in to Nottingham City Council as leader blames Government cuts

Nottingham City Council Credit: PA

The leader of Nottingham City Council has lashed out at the government, after it was announced that commissioners could be appointed to take over some decision-making functions at the Council.

It's been revealed that up to £40m from the council’s Housing Revenue Account had been misspent on the wrong services.

Rent paid by Council housing tenants – which should have been pumped into council housing and repairs – was put into general council services. A report commissioned by the council, says the money was misspent, and in some cases was used to prop up other council services and to avoid job losses.

But Council leader David Mellen blamed the Council's ongoing misfortunes on cuts made by the Conservative government, and said that major improvements are being made to financial governance and management.

Councillor David Mellen blamed Council misfortunes on government cuts

Credit: BPM

Cllr David Mellen said that “The Government’s decision to appoint Commissioners follows our discovery last December that Housing Revenue Account funds had been allocated unlawfully."

He also pointed out that the council had "brought the matter to light ourselves as part of our work to tighten up our financial and governance arrangements and have already taken...action to address the issue"

“It’s clearly disappointing that the Housing Revenue Account issue has led to the Government taking the action it has," he said.

In an explosive further statement, he said that the Government's decision to send in commissioners was a distraction technique.

"You can't just take away a quarter of our budget and expect things to carry on as normal - the context in which we have been operating is important," he said.

The government stepping in is the latest in a line of issues faced by Councillors in Nottingham Credit: PA

"We don't agree that this is a necessary is much more to do with the fortunes of the Conservative party than it is Nottingham - it is no coincidence that this has come out on the same day as by-elections in Wakefield and Tiveton and Honiton."

His comments come after the Conservative lost by-elections in the aforementioned constituencies to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

This was rejected by the leader of the Conservative group on the council, Andrew Rule.

"I am very disappointed to read the Labour group statement on events today which is pretty out of touch with reality."They have absolutely let Nottingham down. The council has had numerous opportunities to reform itself, which it hasn't done - we have now got to a situation where we have run out of time."

The Chief Executive, Mel Barrett, said the council has been making good progress on its recovery and improvement plan over the last few months.

"We have had a positive relationship with the Board and its chair Sir Tony Redmond," he said.

"Sir Tony’s appointment as the lead commissioner therefore provides reassurance and continuity.

"This, and the fact that commissioners have been appointed for two years rather than the normal three, is recognition of the progress we have already made over the last 18 months.”

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