Northamptonshire council leader pens funding plea to secretary of state as half-a-billion cuts figure looms

Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Heather Smith, has penned a letter to the Government asking for fairer local authority funding.
Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Councillor Heather Smith, has penned a letter to the Government asking for fairer local authority funding.

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has written to the secretary of state to plead for more money after it emerged council cuts were on course to reach the half-a-billion mark.

Yesterday, chief executive Paul Blantern and leader Councillor Heather Smith penned a joint report on the funding challenges facing the council over the next four years.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid.

The stark paper revealed services in Northamptonshire, such as the fire brigade, adult social care and children's centres, could be cut by as much as £500 million by 2021 if the current Whitehall funding arrangement were to stays as it is.

It claimed that, if Northamptonshire County Council were to receive the same funding per head of population as East Sussex County Council, it would receive an extra £115m to spend on local services every year. This equates to an additional £159 per person.

Council leader, Councillor Smith has now written to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to call for an urgent review of the current funding formula.

A letter has also been sent to all seven county MPs calling for their support in the campaign for a fairer funding deal for Northamptonshire.

Councillor Smith said: “While we have always managed to deliver a balanced budget, it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the increasing demand for local services against the reducing level of funding we receive from central government – which is significantly less than many comparable county councils.

“Since 2010, we have delivered savings and efficiencies totalling £376 million, which have involved some very difficult decisions affecting local services. By 2021, our total savings will have risen to £0.5 billion.

“Unfortunately, this still isn’t enough.

“We are working incredibly hard to manage the severe financial pressures but we need an urgent review of the Government’s funding formula for local councils to ensure we get a fair deal for residents and put us in a stronger position to protect frontline services as much as possible.”

A report outlining the county council’s financial challenge and the campaign for a funding review by the Secretary of State will be discussed by the county council's Conservative cabinet today(Tuesday).