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Northamptonshire CC raises council tax by 4.99% with special freedoms

Northamptonshire County Council has voted in favour of raising its council tax by 4.99% in a rare move that was voted through by councillors on Thursday.

The council took advantage of special freedoms to pass the measure without the need to hold a referendum, after it was given permission to raise council tax by 2% greater than normally permitted at any other council to help it balance its books amid financial turmoil.

The tax change will raise an extra £5.8m as part of the council’s 2019-20 budget, meaning winter gritting services will be continued and £1.2m will be earmarked for children’s services.

Northamptonshire has arguably been the most troubled local authority in recent times after it was served two Section 114 spending bans, sold its HQ in a £70m bailout to pay off debt, and saw its children’s service decline “significantly” over the last two years.

The council will be scrapped in 2020 to make way for a new unitary authority for the region and still has £1.4m of savings to make by the end of the financial year.

Leader of the council, Cllr Matt Golby, commented: “The great name of this council has been used to highlight poor finances, but today we are drawing a line under that.

“We have just agreed a budget for next year which balances, and has at its heart a commitment to transform services to make them more cost-effective rather than simply cutting them and responds directly to the concerns people raised with us through the consultation period.

“Of course the budget also includes a 4.99% rise in council tax and we did not take this decision lightly. While not many people welcome a rise in their bills it is important to put this into context. For the majority of people in this county it will mean a rise of between 75p and £1 a week.”

Top image: Joe Giddens PA Wire


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