Northamptonshire County Council faces "severe financial challenge"

Northamptonshire County Council has been forced to impose emergency spending controls after warning that it faces a "severe financial challenge".

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Crisis-hit council plans further cuts

Protesters outside Northamptonshire County Council. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Click below for Liz Summer's report:

Following an extraordinary meeting to discuss its funding crisis, Northamptonshire County Council has set out where it's planning to make even deeper budget cuts.

Even core services like child social care won't escape unscathed. The failed authority has been heavily criticised for not being clear on how exactly it plans to meet even the most basic of its obligations.

And after last night's meeting, many say they're as confused as ever as to how the problem will be dealt with.

Last night councillors held an extraordinary meeting to discuss how to tackle the funding crisis, and what services they can realistically deliver.

Experts have said the situation is unprecedented - just last week spending controls were imposed for the second time this year.

Click below for Graham Stothard's report

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Calls for mass resignations at cash strapped Northamptonshire Council

Protestors outside Northamptonshire County Council

There are fresh calls tonight for mass resignations at cash strapped Northamptonshire council as the financial crisis starts putting public services at risk.

The Council has already banned almost all new spending and agreed to sell off its recently built headquarters.

The authority is looking to cut around 30 million pounds from next year's budget, but today's vote on the spending plan had to be postponed after auditors said the sums didn't add up.

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Northamptonshire MPs call for resignations on cash-strapped county council

Northamptonshire County Council has brought in emergency spending controls. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Northamptonshire's Conservative MPs have called for Government commissioners to take over the running of the cash-strapped county council.

It comes after the council became the first for around 20 years to bring in emergency controls banning new spending.

In a joint statement, the MPs say the problems are self-inflicted and that they have no faith in the Tory administration. They've called on the Cabinet to resign.

"Backbench county councillors have been complaining that they've been kept in the dark and haven't been made aware about the extent to which the financial situation has deteriorated. MPs, too, feel that we've been kept in the dark and that's why we're calling on the Cabinet to go."

– Philip Hollobone MP, Kettering

Cllr Heather Smith, the leader of the council, insists the problems are a result of a 'perfect storm' of less government funding and more pressure on services.

Today (February 5th) Northamptonshire County Council announced its final budget proposals - which may be reviewed after the decision to implement the spending controls known as a Section 114 notice.

The notice means no new expenditure is permitted apart from safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services.

It's in light of the significant risk that the council will not be in a position to deliver a balanced budget by the end of this financial year.

The final budget proposals for 2018/19 include a council tax increase of just under 6%, including the 3% adult social care precept.

“We are legally bound to set a budget for the coming financial year but the challenge we are now facing is unprecedented and there will no doubt be difficult decisions to be made over the coming weeks and months.”

– Cllr Heather Smith
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