Watford’s mayor appeared on GB News this morning to address “has power gone to the heads of local councils?”.

As Nottingham City Council potentially faces bankruptcy the news channel’s presenters Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster brought on Conservative Home deputy editor Henry Hill and Watford mayor Peter Taylor to discuss council funding this morning (November 21).

“The demands on our services have never been higher,” Mr Taylor said. “So, we’ve got big demands on our services and less and less money.

“The number of people that work for Watford Borough Council has halved in ten years, but people still expect their bins to be emptied…clean parks.

“We do our very best we are definitely not going to be declaring bankruptcy any time soon but there is a big challenge for councils right across the country.”

The mayor also pushed back on the idea that planning powers should be taken away from local governments, adding “It’s really important that local people can decide what’s best for their areas, that’s the point of local government”.

He said that if housebuilding was taken away from local government, as Mr Hill suggested, there would be “a lot of anger”, as people would not be able to influence how their towns and cities are changing.

After the show aired, Mr Taylor said, via X/Twitter: “Interesting start to the day - appearing on GB News to argue that local councils need more funding and powers to tackle the big challenges we face.

“Over the last 10 years central-government grant funding for councils has been cut by 50% in real terms.”

Watford Observer: The GB News interview.The GB News interview. (Image: GB News)

Nottingham City Council said it could declare effective bankruptcy if an assessment found it could not feasibly balance its books. It said that, while it is “not ‘bankrupt’ or insolvent”, it will need to assess whether it can deliver a balanced budget.

It came after concerns that the council will follow the likes of Birmingham and others in issuing a Section 114 notice, meaning a council is effectively bankrupt.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak blamed the issues on “financial mismanagement”, rather than a lack of funding.