Recruitment by small firms could slash Notts jobless, says Cutts
A YEAR into her leadership, Mrs Cutts decided to press the case for the dualling of the A453. The local economy was mirroring the national picture and stagnating. Business needed a widened A453 to the motorway to have any chance of recovery when the chance came.
She went to Whitehall to see transport secretary Philip Hammond, taking her handbag, a map and her cheque book.
"When we went to London, I said, 'let's put some money in and show the Government we are serious'.
"We discovered we were nowhere near the top of the list of schemes. We were given a civil servant to work with and it became apparent to everyone this was about the worst road in the country but local civil servants simply hadn't pressed our case.
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"It is no good talking about roads and jobs and training if there is nowhere to go and work afterwards."
Mrs Cutts is famously anti-tram and has ridden it only twice. "Think how many buses we could buy with the money," she says.
She is sympathetic to the case for fast trains between Nottingham and London. "We have had agreement from Government to electrify and take out some of the bends.
"However, I don't think the Government understands that going to London in 90 minutes is fine, in two hours it's a long journey. You have had enough by the time you get there. It is sending the wrong message to inward investors."
Having said that, she believes people will travel less on business as new technology takes over.
"We need to make sure we have the infrastructure right, roads, rail, If people are moving to Nottingham, we need to make sure their children get a proper education.
"We have some very nice housing and some very cheap housing, an advantage. We have fairly good leisure offers. But there is no aspiration in the county and if there is no aspiration, people won't want to come here."
Mrs Cutts appreciates the value and importance of small businesses. "For instance, they tackle the problem of unemployment quicker than large businesses. We have a lot of small businesses in Notts and if they were to take on one person, it would solve our problem."