Eric Pickles to intervene in Nottinghamshire voluntary sector cuts

By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 25 January 2012

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles

The communities secretary will write to the county council about its disproportionate cuts to the voluntary sector

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has agreed to intervene in the case of Nottinghamshire County Council over its disproportionate funding cuts to the voluntary sector, according to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

The Conservative-led council has cut its voluntary sector grants budget for 2011/12 by about 34 per cent, compared with a cut of about 8 per cent in its grant from central government.

Statutory guidance published by the Communities and Local Government department in September said local authorities should not make "disproportionate" funding cuts to the voluntary sector.

Ben Kernighan, deputy chief executive of the NCVO, said that Pickles had agreed to write to the council’s leader, Kay Cutts, about the issue.

"He will be bringing to the council’s attention its obligations in relation to the statutory guidance on disproportionate cuts," he said.

Kernighan said the communities secretary had also asked to be kept personally informed of any other local authorities that made disproportionate cuts to the voluntary sector.

Kernighan said Pickles’ intervention was "very pleasing" and he hoped it would prevent other local authorities from making disproportionate cuts to the sector.

The local infrastructure body Navca also issued a statement that said Joe Irvin, its chief executive, had spoken to Pickles about the Nottinghamshire situation and he had agreed to intervene.

Earlier this month, Martin Suthers, deputy leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, told Third Sector he agreed that the cuts were disproportionate, but that it was unreasonable for the department to expect otherwise because demand for the council’s statutory services was increasing.

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