Advice services saved after budget rethink

LIBRARIES and advice centres in the Daventry district will continue to be funded by Northamptonshire County Council (NCC).

An NCC cabinet meeting on Tuesday revealed plans to close eight libraries and remove funding from advice and information centres will now be scrapped.

Instead the budget plan will see all 36 libraries, including Daventry, Long Buckby and Brixworth under review. With a view to delivering services in partnership with local communities.

The £150,000 funding for places such as Citizens’ Advice Bureaux (CAB) will now be put back, along with an additional investment of £100,000.

The decision has been hailed as good news for Advice Daventry, whose future was threatened the cuts.

Chairman of the Advice Daventry trustee board, Clive Brown, said: “I am delighted that sense has prevailed for all of the people that use Advice Daventry and will come to use it in the future. There will be a lot more people who will need us now than ever before.

“A huge thank you to all of the people who supported us and signed the petition and particularly to Cllr Chris Long for all of the work he has done.”

The revised budget gives Advice Daventry extra time to look at ways of saving money.

Mr Brown added: “We are not out of the woods yet but this does give us breathing space and a chance to make the service more sustainable.”

Cllr Long, who represents Daventry west on NCC, said: “It shows that when people of this town are right and put the pressure on the local authorities, then they can make a difference.”

The council will press ahead with cutting bus subsidies by £1.4 million, but will invest £1 million (up from the original £700,000) to explore new forms of public transport.

The changes to the budget come after 19,000 visits to the council’s YouChoose website, while 17,000 people either signed petitions or gave feedback on the plans.

NCC leader Jim Harker said: “We have listened to people’s views and made changes where we can. For example the comments we received about our library proposals demonstrated the strength of feeling people have about their local libraries, which is why we are no longer proposing to close them but instead proposing to use this enthusiasm to inspire a Big Society approach.

“We have also heard people’s feedback about our proposed saving for advice and information services and are therefore looking to invest in this area instead, so that these services can continue to offer their valuable support to those who need them.”

Cllr Harker confirmed NCC still needs save £137 million over the next four years, and £69 million this year.

The plans will be discussed at full council next Thursday.