VIDEO: Northamptonshire County Council's stabilisation plan not without 'risks'

A plan to save the county council more than £20m which would return it to break even for 2018/19 has the caveat of some ‘serious risks’ councillors have warned.

The Stabilisation Plan earmarks the £20m that needs to be saved for Northamptonshire County Council to be able to meet its budget for the financial year.

The county council's cabinet met this afternoon at One Angel Square

The county council's cabinet met this afternoon at One Angel Square

Measures agreed this afternoon by cabinet within the plan include increasing the council tax base, especially for those with single person discount, and reductions in agency staff.

Cabinet member for finance Councillor Malcolm Longley told the packed public gallery at One Angel Square: “We have a bit of an audience for this and I've been wondering how to present this because it's a milestone.

"It's a step in the right direction, but admittedly with some caveats and serious risks. The county council has a poor track record. It's alright having a plan, but you have to deliver it. It's very dependent on the district and borough council's co-operation. If we can't get that it becomes much more difficult."

Labour councillor Mick Scrimshaw said: "I'm deeply worried by the stabilisation plan. We are halfway through the financial year. There's not enough detail to give us confidence that these savings will be achieved.

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw spoke up to raise his concerns

Cllr Mick Scrimshaw spoke up to raise his concerns

“As chair of scrutiny, I can say we will be looking closely for any unintended consequences to these proposals. But without more detail this will be a difficult task.”

Council leader Matt Golby added though that there was a ‘constant need to look for further savings’.

He said: “We are doing as much as we can and this plan does need a set of business plans behind them. We are dealing with an incredibly challenging set of circumstances. It's up to us to own this plan as well as the councillors and staff. I fully support it with the caveat that we need to keep coming up with new ideas to get us into a better place.”