Nottingham City Council put unemployment and helping businesses on top of their priority list but residents think they should focus on other problems.
The Council’s Procurement Strategy is in place to ensure that there are more benefits for the local economy by supporting their economic growth in order to provide more jobs to the residents. They also plan to enable local firms and businesses to have more of a choice in their opportunities. The executive board voted for the Growth Plan in late February.
Councillor Nick McDonald states that the Procurement Strategy will “drive [them] to take forward a modern, effective and efficient procurement service that truly delivers best value, supports innovation [and] stimulates growth”.
With votes in favour of business enterprising, why are people apprehensive towards the scheme?
Council Energy Firm
According to the City Council, plans to launch a scheme next year to set up an energy company to rival other companies is in consideration. This in turn will apparently be saving the average Notts resident money on their energy bills in the long run however, it is said to cost around £1 million of taxpayers’ money to set it up.
Although the council are adamant that this will help cut fuel poverty, some residents of Nottingham believe that the idea, plus the addition of the cost in tax is not worth the risk.
Joy Walters, 47, of Mapperley says that “there are so many companies, they’re all in high competition, it’s not a necessity to take on a new scheme.”
Michelle Peters from Hucknall is in agreement stating that it isn’t saving the council necessarily any money. “At the end of the day if we choose to change our gas and electricity we’re saving ourselves money.”
Les Norman however doesn’t believe that the councillors are in the wrong. “I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here. Councillors just have to prioritise what’s the most important thing.” He also thinks that if the Procurement Strategy focuses on helping economic growth then it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Bus Fares Increase
In addition to the company plans, Nottingham City Transport (NCT) are increasing their bus fares by 17%, with the new fares being introduced on March 30th. The NCT is 95% owned by the City Council and this is the first time that bus fares have increased in three years.
An adult single ticket will increase from £1.70 to £2, an all-day ticket from £3.40 to £3.50 and group rider tickets from £8 to £9. Prices for an Easyrider ticket will stay the same but a Kangaroo ticket will rise to £4.20.
NCT have said that since 2011, the company has absorbed an increase in inflation by 7.74%, a reduced tax reimbursement by 20%, as well as an increase in the price of diesel by 18p.
Unfortunately, we’ve now reached the point where we can no longer absorb these increases and have to pass them on to customers. We have worked hard to ensure that the majority of our customers (about 90%) won’t see any increase or their increase will be below the rate of inflation since 2011.
Nottingham City Transport
Passengers have expressed their thoughts about the price increases on Twitter, with some criticising the NCT for unreliable bus services.
A Community Enforcement Officer, Hyson Green, who preferred to remain nameless believes that the money needs to be spent on providing more parking for public transport:
“I wouldn’t need to use public transport if they had better parking facilities in the city, so I think they should improve the parking facilities within the city for people who come to work and that would be money better spent rather than on a new energy provider or having to increase bus fares.”
He also added that the money invested into the energy firm could be used to fix local roads. He states that “where [he lives] there’s potholes everywhere and the council are doing nothing about it, so why don’t you spend £1 million over there.”