1. ITV Report

Council plead for more money as budget proposals lay out tax increases and service cuts

Northamptonshire County Council has announced plans to increase council tax by nearly five per cent in a bid to tackle ‘unprecedented demand for services’.

It comes amid news that the authority has to save £34 million next year as a result of government cuts as well as increased pressure on the services they provide.

The Council Leaders laid out the proposals in a briefing at their HQ, One Angel Square. Credit: ITV Anglia.

In an announcement at the Council’s Headquarters, Leader Cllr Helen Smith told ITV News Anglia she doesn’t sleep at night as she tries to balance the budget. She also called on the government to give them extra money for Adult Social Care as they struggle to make ends meet.

The budget proposals unveiled this morning confirmed cuts to services including libraries. It is claimed next year more bus services and road gritting could also be affected.

They say by saving money on services such as these they can direct more into social care services.

We do understand that some of these proposals will have an impact on communities, and that is why we are continuing to call for an urgent review of our funding model from the Government while doing everything we can to minimise the impact on frontline services. We have also directly requested that the government look at again at the council tax cap. We believe given the pressures we are experiencing and our low tax rate there should be more flexibility afforded to us in terms of our tax raising powers.

In our consultation so far many people have suggested they would be prepared to pay more tax to protect frontline services so it is something we have to explore.”

– Helen Smith, Council Leader

The Councillor in charge of the authority’s finances has warned without action they will be soon be unable some of their most vital services.

Northamptonshire’s population is continuing to grow at an increasingly fast pace - 1.5% faster than the national average – and that is creating huge demand for services including school places, children’s services and adult social care.

We have reviewed the way we work to ensure we are as efficient as possible and deliver the best possible value for money, and after this year it is very difficult to identify further savings without impacting significantly on frontline, statutory services.

Unless the Government takes a serious look at its funding of local public services, we will struggle to even deliver statutory services by as soon as 2019/20.

– Cllr Robin Brown, Cabinet Member for Finance.

The Cabinet is meeting to discuss the proposed 2018/19 budget tomorrow (Tuesday 19 December) at 11am.