Investments are key to £43m savings, says Northamptonshire County Council leader during budget announcement

Leader of the council, Councillor Matt Golby, says investments will help the authority save millions in the next financial year.
Leader of the council, Councillor Matt Golby, says investments will help the authority save millions in the next financial year.

A series of "targetted investments" will help the crisis-hit county council to make £43 million worth of savings, the authority has revealed during its budget announcement today.

The draft budget for next year, which proposes a 2.99 per cent increase in council tax, is greatly helped by the addition of an extra £70 million into the council coffers - after the Government took the unusual step of allowing the county to use capital receipts to fund day-to-day revenue costs.

Finance chief, Councillor Malcolm Longley.

Finance chief, Councillor Malcolm Longley.

The measures outline how investment could be pumped into adult’s and children’s homes to reduce the county's reliance on outside agencies - and help to deliver the £42.9 million in revenue savings required to balance the books.

Leader of the council, Councillor Matt Golby said: "The proposed budget for 2019/20 outlines a fresh and new way for this organisation to rise to its financial challenges.

"In a series of targeted investments, we are able to make significant savings in our running costs while at the same time transform our services to better meet demand.

“The budget confirms the savings already outlined and then builds on this work. It shows how we will get the basics right, stabilise our finances and then by working shoulder to shoulder with our partners and with communities begin to confidently move services towards the future.”

Some £35 million worth of debt hanging over from the 2017/18 budget will be cleared by the flexible use of the capital receipts and £20 million will be used to top up the council's depleted reserves.

The remaining £15 million could be used as a contingency fund for new investments. These will see the council fund improvements to adult social care centres and provide new accommodation for older people, those with learning disabilities and mental health requirements.

This, the authority says, will reduce its current over-reliance on costly external placements.

The proposals also outline plans to develop a new secure unit for children, which will increase the availability of the council’s own residential homes.

And new proposals for the county’s libraries are also published today, which will see the majority of libraries in the county remaining open.

Cabinet member for finance Councillor Malcolm Longley, added: “This is a draft budget I am proud to present for consultation. It shows that, in these extraordinarily difficult times, with the right investments on the right services we can make our services far more sustainable for the future.”