Finally, Conservative says 'sorry' for Northamptonshire's financial mess

The acting Conservative leader of Northamptonshire County Council has issued an apology to taxpayers following last week's stinging inspection report.

Councillor Matt Golby has issued an apology on behalf of the Conservative group.
Councillor Matt Golby has issued an apology on behalf of the Conservative group.

Max Caller's Best Value inspection released on Thursday delivered a number of criticisms over the way authority's leaders had managed the budgets since 2013.

He described a "culture" of being unable to live within financial restraints at the authority and recommended Northamptonshire County Council be run by commissioners for a two-year period before being disbanded altogether.

Last week, former leader of the authority Councillor Heather Smith announced her resignation - stating the financial woes at the council were down to chronic under-funding from central Government.

Councillor Heather Smith stood down last week.

But this afternoon the Conservative group's acting Leader, Councillor Matt Golby, issued a public apology on behalf of the Tories - who have been in charge at County Hall since 2005.

He said "Our group has moved swiftly to take on board the criticisms made in the Caller report.

"We are determined to act on the report's recommendations, to improve the way decisions are made and to reform procedures. Our over-riding aim is to deliver the best value services with the resources we have available, taking the council forward and, working with our dedicated council staff, we will lead the recovery process.

"The Conservative group will soon present a new-look leadership team, that makes use of the new and currently untapped talent combined with the valued experience we have available from within the Group.

Councillor Heather Smith stood down last week.

"The future still has many challenges ahead and we promise the residents of Northamptonshire we will do everything we can to win back their trust and confidence.

"While the Secretary of State's definitive statement on the recommended restructuring of local government in Northamptonshire is awaited, there will be a renewed focus on working closely with our key partners: colleagues in the borough and district councils, the county's seven Members of Parliament, partners in the health sector and central Government.

"There is a strong resolve to rebuild confidence and to improve our delivery of the county council's services for the people of Northamptonshire.

"This is an unprecedented time in local politics, but we are confident that something positive will emerge in the years to come to benefit the residents of our county and we are excited about having the chance to be a part of that change."