Latest Public Sector News

04.07.19

Northamptonshire CC delivers ‘remarkable’ multi-million underspend

Northamptonshire County Council has delivered a balanced budget for 2018-19 with a “remarkable” underspend of £4.5m, a £34.6m improvement compared to July 2018.

Last year the cash-strapped council was twice forced to issue spending bans, the first issued in 20 years, as it faced a £64m deficit.

“Severe financial difficulties” had seen government commissioners appointed to oversee its finances, but the local authority said it actually underspent by £4.5m in the last year.

The leader of Northamptonshire CC, Matt Golby called it a “remarkable achievement” and said the extra money would be put into its reserves, which now stands at £39.8m.

READ MORE: Spending ban over Northamptonshire County Council lifted

The second Section 114 notice, which bans all but essential spending, was issued in July last year when the council was forecasting a £30.1m overspend.

But Golby said since then “we have worked tirelessly with our new management team and the Commissioners and we have made solid progress to close this gap.”

In November last year, the government made up to £70m in capital receipts from the council’s HQ sale available to the authority, an effective bail-out, and !!!!!

The council is due to be scrapped in 2021 and, along with seven district and borough councils, will be replaced with two new unitary councils, a year later than first planned.

READ MORE: Northamptonshire CC members vote in favour of unitary proposals

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, Theresa May told Parliament that officials have been working on the details of the legislation for the new authorities, and that the old councils will be “replaced as soon as possible.”

Elections are scheduled for May 2020 in order to create two shadow authorities, and the new unitary authorities are due to come into power in April 2021.

“While the progress we have made as an organisation in terms of our financial situation is extraordinary, the position we were in was so grave that even with such progress our financial position remains extremely fragile.

“Therefore the hard work will need to continue to make sure we are in a strong position for the transition to the two unitary organisations.”

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