News

07.02.18

Northamptonshire tables unitary plans to combat ‘bleak financial position’

Transforming into a unitary authority could be the last option left to the debt-ridden Northamptonshire County Council.

Councillors suggested that only “significant local government reorganisation” could save the authority from a £78m funding gap set to develop between 2019-20 and 2021-22.

The news comes after Northamptonshire became the first council in nearly 20 years to issue a section 114 spending ban earlier this week, prohibiting almost all new expenditure.

In a report on the authority’s status, director of finance Mark McLaughlin said that Northamptonshire might have to sell its headquarters, in a deal which would see the council lease the property back.

Explaining the options, McLaughlin said: “Although the council constantly seeks value for money in all of its business decision making and transformation agenda, only significant local government re-organisation, moving to a unitary status, would provide the opportunity to reduce its costs significantly over the coming years.”

Pressure on adult social care services, as well as increasing costs across other services, have heavily contributed to the overspend. Although McLaughlin also pointed to £8m of recent asset sales, which he claimed were poorly timed.

Following a number of years of cuts, the council has few choices left to reduce expenditure and has been forced to issue the spending ban because of a lack of other options.

McLaughlin explained: “As each year passes, the cumulative nature of the council’s significant savings programme means that it has been increasingly difficult to identify areas of the council that can be delivered more efficiently; and, as such, the 2018-19 budget proposals predominantly focus on service reduction on the limited amount of discretionary services still provided, and asset sales utilised through the Governments Flexible Use of Capital Receipts policy.”

The County Council’s Network (CCN) said Northamptonshire’s troubles are indicative of much greater pressure on county authorities.

Paul Carter, CCN chairman, said: “County authorities face the deepest reductions in funding and demand-led pressures in adult social care. This is placing immense strain on local budgets after years of financial restraint.”

Top image: yevtony

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News

comment

A new era of opportunity for the north

13/08/2018A new era of opportunity for the north

It’s time to stop seeing transport investment as a nice-to-have: it&r... more >
Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

13/08/2018Council mergers: little gain, less democratic

Dr Linze Schaap, associate professor at the Tilburg Centre for Regional Law... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

interviews

Modern policing: the future is bright

06/08/2018Modern policing: the future is bright

SPONSORED INTERVIEW The public sector, and policing in particular, has o... more >

the raven's daily blog

Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

13/08/2018Don’t horse around! Council finds new home for house-bound pony

A council that took four years in a legal wrangle to remove a pony from an Isle of Lewis house may have found the four-legged beast a new home. Western Isles council remo... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

public sector events

events calendar

back

August 2018

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
30 31 1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9

featured articles

View all News