Government cuts leave Northamptonshire County Council needing to find a further £7.5m of savings

Northamptonshire County Council will need to find a further �7.5 million worth of savings in 2016/17.
Northamptonshire County Council will need to find a further �7.5 million worth of savings in 2016/17.

Further misery has been heaped on Northamptonshire County Council, after a reduction in Government grant funding has left the authority needing to find a further £7.5 million worth of savings in 2016/17...on top of the £77 million already announced.

Last month the cash-strapped authority announced plans to cut around £77 million from its 2016/17 budget by closing two care homes, ceasing the Nourish school meals services, taking a chunk out of the fire and rescue budget and cutting around £27 million from adult social care.

“Anything that is not nailed down, anything that is not required by the council as statute, is going to go, it’s as simple as that.”

Councillor Mick Scrimshaw

Cabinet papers released this week show the council is also still facing an £8.7 million overspend for this year, which it will need to rectify in time for the end of the financial calender in April.

But the figures from the local government financial settlement for 2016/17 - the chunk of grant funding councils receive from central government each year - is around £7.5 million less than first anticipated.

Shadow cabinet member for finance on the county council, Councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northall) said the cut in grant funding has left him “speechless.”

“When I woke up this morning to hear that news it would be £7.5 million, I just could not believe it.

“How they expect this council in particular to fund this, I just don’t know.”

Councillor Scrimshaw said the cut to the county council grant is around four per cent harsher than the average drop in funding faced by authorities across the country.

The county will need to find £84.5 million worth of savings in 2016/17 now, which he believes is not achievable without a substantial raid on reserves.

He said: “I don’t think anybody really believes the budget we are going to agree in February is actually going to work.

“This council is just trying to cobble something together so it can continue.

“But things like bus subsidies and waste management are at their absolute lowest limit at the moment, any further cuts will be to services.

“Anything that is not nailed down, anything that is not required by the council as statute, is going to go, it’s as simple as that.”

Conservative cabinet member for finance Councillor Bill Parker has been contacted for an interview.