Council faces huge task to save money

Budget press conference at County Hall
Budget press conference at County Hall
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The leader of Northamptonshire County Council has said residents must next year face the first increase in council tax since 2011.

Bosses at County Hall revealed plans to save £35 million from their annual budget this week.

Alongside possible plans to introduce fees for using council tips, the council announced a planned tax rise of just under two per cent. The rise, which would take the cost of a band D council tax bill up to £1,048 a year for services such as highways maintenance and libraries, would be the first increase implemented by the authority in three years. Cllr Jim Harker said the rise was needed.

He said: “This is a continuation of the challenge we’ve had to put up with for quite some time. But we’re protecting front line services and keeping the county council’s tax bills the lowest on the country.”

This year, the county council must cut its budget by £35 million.

Over the next five years, the total to be saved by the authority will add up to a £128 million. That comes on top of £177 million of savings already made by the council over the past few years.

Cllr Harker said: “We face a mammoth task of reducing our budget. We do have to make a lot of savings, but that won’t be at the expense of front line services.”

It has been backed by the authority’s opposition who argued the rises should have been implemented earlier.

Labour group leader, Cllr John McGhee said: “I think the rise is too little too late. Had they done this in the past, they could have protected some of the services and perhaps they wouldn’t be in the state they are now.”