Announcement of further Northamptonshire County Council cuts delayed

The county council''s new headquarters in One Angel Square.
The county council''s new headquarters in One Angel Square.

The announcement of a further £27.7m of cuts by Northamptonshire County Council has been delayed as it waits to find out how much money it will get from the Government next year.

The council’s December cabinet meeting – where the authority is due to announce further 2018/2019 budget proposals to go out to public consultation – will now take place on Tuesday, December 19, having been put back by a week.

The county council announced £9.6m of budget reductions – including controversial proposals which could see 28 libraries close – in October and is expected to outline a further £27.7m in efficiencies for 2018/2019.

However, information about how much money the county council will get from Government for the next financial year has been delayed, meaning the authority would not have a clear financial picture on which to make decisions.

Cllr Heather Smith (Con, Oundle), leader of the county council, said: “We have been fighting for a fairer funding deal for the people of Northamptonshire and were disappointed that there was no indicative announcement made about the provision for local government when the chancellor unveiled the Government’s own spending plans last week.

“This week we have again met with the Government to make our concerns clear.

“It is no secret that the county council, like most top-tier local authorities nationally, is facing severe financial challenges and every penny counts.

“In previous years we have been able to make our draft budget proposals while still waiting to hear about the local government settlement but this year, with finances so tight, we need much more of an exact figure in order to draw up our final draft proposals.”

The county council has delivered savings and efficiencies of £376m since 2010 and by 2021, total savings will have risen to almost £0.5bn.

Through its ongoing discussions with the Government, the county council is asking for the improved Better Care Fund to be made part of the base budget, an extension of capital flexibilities, removal of the threshold for a council tax referendum, financial assistance for the rising looked after children population and full cost recovery for unaccompanied asylum seekers.

The cabinet meeting is scheduled to take place at 11am on Tuesday, December 19, at One Angel Square.