Councils answer to the public, not government, says Hurd

Nottinghamshire is accountable to its voters for cuts to the sector, says civil society minister

Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council

Local councils should be accountable to their residents rather than the government over decisions to cut funding to the voluntary sector, civil society minister Nick Hurd has said.

In an interview with Third Sector, Hurd was asked whether the Communities and Local Government department should have intervened in the case of Nottinghamshire County Council, which has cut its voluntary sector grants budget by 34 per cent after losing 8 per cent of its grant from central government.

The infrastructure body Navca asked the department to intervene, but it has not done so.

"We always said that our ability to tell councils what to do is extremely limited – and we welcome that in an age of localism," Hurd said. "We tried very hard to send very clear signals to the local authorities, warning them not to cut the voluntary sector disproportionately, and this was backed up by guidance.

"At the end of the day, that is guidance and people doing very difficult jobs at local authorities have got to be free to make their own decisions and be accountable to the communities they serve for those decisions.

"If Nottinghamshire wants to go against that, then there is some accountability to the department, but the main accountability is to the public they serve."

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