BREAKING NEWS: County council cuts in Northamptonshire will reach HALF-A-BILLION POUNDS by 2021

Paul Blantern has issued an extraordinary appeal for more funding from the Government.
Paul Blantern has issued an extraordinary appeal for more funding from the Government.

The chief executive of Northamptonshire County Council has issued an extraordinary appeal for more Government money after revealing cuts will reach the half-a-billion pound mark within three years.

An unprecedented report by chief executive Dr Paul Blantern released in the last hour has lashed out at the way Northamptonshire has been funded historically.

It claims that by 2021, Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) will have been forced to make £500 million of cuts in a single decade due to diminishing Whitehall money.

A "funding bubble," Mr Blantern claims, will leave asset-rich councils in London less hit by austerity, while services in Northamptonshire - from children's centres to the county's fire brigade - cut to the bone,

The report reads: "Without a new funding formula, Northamptonshire will continue to be unfairly and inequitably impacted if we continue with the same mechanism.

"We receive £673 per person to spend on local services in this county.

"By comparison, most London boroughs get more than £1,000 per person. If we received the same level of funding as East Sussex County Council, we would receive an extra £115m per annum, despite having a substantially smaller population.

"This equates to an extra £159 per person."

At tomorrow's cabinet meeting the chief executive is expected to call for the county's MPs to throw their weight behind the county council's Network's campaign for fairer funding.

His report goes on to say that even if a £500 million savings target it achieved by 2021, it still "isn't enough" to protect council services.

In recent years, the Conservative administration has been criticised for keeping council tax among the lowest in the country despite the funding challenges.

In a recent report, the Local Government Association even claimed Northamptonshire County Council was the authority "least able to fund" itself in the future in the country.

But Mr Blantern, in the report, claimed this was a result of long-term circumstances "running back over many decades, not recent decisions by councillors of either political administration."

"Unlike many councils, NCC has, entirely through historic circumstance, been very asset poor and indeed reserve cash poor, so we do not have the options to invest our own capital nor exploit large land holdings like some councils.

"To put that in context, there are some London councils that due to the London property bubble, have made so much from property development that they are in effect immune from Government austerity."

The cabinet meeting is set to take place at County Hall on Tuesday September 12 at 2pm.