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Council tax to rise as Northamptonshire County Council looks to cut £128m in five years

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Northamptonshire County Council’s portion of the council tax bill will rise by 1.99 per cent in 2014-15, as it looks to make savings of £128 million over the next five years.

The authority has published its draft budget today, and says it will maintain its position as the lowest taxing county council in the country with the increase, which will cost the average household an extra 39p a week.

It says it will also embark on a “huge new integration” with the NHS regarding provision of health and social care, calling this an “historic shift” in the way services are provided.

The authority has also pledged to increase spending by £12 million on the failing children’s services, which were rated as inadequate by Ofsted earlier this year, while maintaining spending on library services, country parks and its road maintenance programme.

It will make an additional one-off payment of £1.6 million to children’s services to help implement its improvement programme.

The council is also looking at the possibility of charging people to use recycling centres, as part of a review into the 10 sites across the county.

The review aims to save £1 million over five years, and will look at each site’s viability.

Council leader, Councillor Jim Harker (Con, Ise), said: “Today marks not just the publication of the budget proposals, but also the publication of a new council plan outlining a new set of priorities for Northamptonshire.

“This plan shows how we are taking on a far greater role in people’s health and wellbeing, and explains how we will look to build on the superb work already undertaken to save taxpayers millions of pounds, while finding innovative new ways to deliver services and keep council tax rates the lowest in the country.

“Within this budget we are also making it clear that some of our services have a red line around them, to ensure that despite the huge financial challenges we are tackling, there will be no service reductions in those areas.”

Councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northall), shadow cabinet member for finance, said: “It must be embarrassing for George Osborne that yet another of his own councils has opted to defy Conservative Party policy and increase council tax.

“From the outset, the Labour group at County Hall has been clear that this Tory administration was wrong to have frozen council tax. A rise of 1.99% year on year from 2011-12 would have provided the council with approximately £6 million.

“This may well have prevented the crisis we are currently facing in children’s services.”

 

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