County Hall councillors failed to spend almost £85,000 from a fund for local good causes

Angel Square, headquarters of Northamptonshire County Council
Angel Square, headquarters of Northamptonshire County Council

The leader of Northamptonshire County Council was one of several who failed to spend thousands of pounds on their ward.

The empowerment fund scheme gave each councillor £5,000 to spend on good causes in their wards, examples of which include community groups, local events, sports clubs, school trips and defibrillators.

Most of the 57 councillors were left with a few hundred pounds unspent - possibly as a result of the scheme being ended a month early because of the council's financial crisis.

But 14 councillors each had more than £1,000 left.

Among them were the leader of the council Matt Golby (Con, Duston West & St Crispin) and fellow cabinet members Ian Morris (Con, Silverstone) and Cecilia Irving-Swift (Con, Brixworth).

Councillor Golby did manage to spend most of his money - on 12 causes including on a care leavers' event, a primary school holiday club and a Christmas shopping voucher scheme. However, he still had £2,037 unspent.

He said: "I don't want to comment on this. I wasn't aware that I hadn't spent it all."

On the opposite side of the chamber, some senior Labour figures also failed to spend all their empowerment fund.

Labour group leader Bob Scott (Lab, Lloyds) and former group leader John McGhee (Lab, Kingswood) spent money on community defibrillators, among other causes, but still had more than £2,400 and more than £1,900 left respectively.

Rebecca Breese (Con, Middleton Cheney) was the only councillor to have spent none of her empowerment fund. She did not respond to a request for comment.

At the other extreme, Chris Stanbra (Lib Dem, Oakley), whose ward is in Corby, was among 12 members who spent all their £5,000.

Having not received enough bids at one point, he sent out a leaflet urging people and organisations to apply for money.

He said: "I found it very easy indeed to spend my fund.

"I can understand that some newer councillors may not know how the scheme works. But I have to say that, with this money at my disposal it was incumbent on me as a councillor to find a way to spend it in a way that benefited the community."

On the role played by the early withdrawal of the scheme in catching councillors out, Councillor Stanbra said: "It was pretty clear to us the financial state the council was in and knew the empowerment funds might not be there to spend much longer."

These are your councillors and how much of their fund was unspent:

Richard Auger (Con, Daventry West ) £0

Fiona Baker (Con, Brackley) £1250

Jane Birch (Lab, Kingsthorpe South) £3000

Elizabeth Bowen (Con, Nene valley ) £3500

Wendy Brackenbury (Con,Thrapston ) £500

Rebecca Breese (Con, Middleton Cheney) £5000

Julie Brookfield (Lab,Corby West) £3784

Adam Brown (Con, Bugbrooke) £1100

Robin Brown (Con, Woodford & Weedon ) £0

Pinder Chauhan (Con, Sixfields ) £0

Michael Clarke (Con, Hackleton & Grange Park) £1745

Rachel Cooley (Con, St George) £700 **(SINCE STEPPED DOWN)

Julie Davenport (Ind, Delapre & Rushmere) £4000

Gareth Eales (Lab, Dallington Spencer) £793

Scott Edwards (Lab, Wicksteed) (Con, ) £2750

Jonathan Ekins (Con, Brickhill and Queensway) £3300

Matt Golby (Con, duston West & St Crispin) £2037

Andre Gonzalez de Savage (Con, East Hunsbury & Shelfleys ) £362

Robert Gough (Con, Earls Barton) £0

Martin Griffiths (Con, Irchester) £3750

Jim Hakewill (Ind, Rothwell and Mawsley) £664

Eileen Hales (Con, Windmill) £1550

Mike Hallam (Con, Boothville and Parklands) £0

Amy Howard (Con, Daventry East) £278

Dudley Hughes (Con, Raunds) £0

Sylvia Hughes (Con, Irthlingborough) £313

Cecile Irving-Swift (Con, Brixworth) £1000

Andrew Kilbride (Con, Billing & Rectory Farm) £0

Graham Lawman (Con, Croyland & Swanspool) £3500

Stephen Legg (Con, Riverside Park) £350

Malcolm Longley (Con, Braunston & Crick) £0

Allan Matthews (Con, Desborough) £600

Arthur McCutcheon (Lab, Headlands) £2000

John McGee (Lab, Kingswood) £1901

Andy Mercer (Con, Rushden South) £20

Gill Mercer (Con, Finedon) £2000

Dennis Meredith (Lib Dem, Talavera) £0

Ian Morris (Con, Silverstone) £1000

Sandra Naden-Horley (Con, Corby Rural) £604

Steve Osborne (Con, Long Buckby ) £2274

Bill Parker (Con, Clover Hill) £315

Suresh Patel (Con, Duston East) £110

Victoria Perry (Con, Ise) £592

Sam Rumens (Con, Kingsthorpe North) £3107

Adil Sadygov (Con, Towcester & Roade) £3500

Bob Scott (Lab, Lloyds) £2406

Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northall) £2937

Judy Shephard (Con, Moulton ) £0

Heather Smith (Ind, Oundle) £2300

Christina Smith-Haynes (Con, Burton & Boughton) £1174

Chris Stanbra (Lib Dem, Oakley ) £0

Danielle Stone (Lab,Abingtton & Phippsvllle) £2580

Winston Strachan (Lab, Castle) £0

Michael Tye (Con, Rushden Pemberton West) £2430

Allen Walker (Con, Deanshanger) £2750

Malcolm Waters (Con, Hatton park) £1000