A further £40 million of cuts will have to be made from Northamptonshire County Council’s budget, the leader of the authority has revealed.
In 2011, a total of £73 million was slashed from the council’s budget, followed by a further £28 million in 2012 and an extra £32 million at the start of 2013.
But the leader of the authority, Councillor Jim Harker (Con, Ise) has told the Chron that Government funding cuts meant even more must be stripped from the authority’s finances this year.
He said: “We’ve got to make savings in excess of £40 million and we’ll be exploring a wide range of ways of doing this, from finding more efficiencies to increasing our partnerships working with other authorities.”
The biggest cuts to hit the council in decades came in 2011 when the authority decided to switch off half the county’s street lights, scrap lollipop patrols outside schools and axe the money given to the group which ran the county’s speed cameras.
Since 2010, a total of 1,084 jobs have also been cut at the council.
Top level talks are now being held between politicians and officers at County Hall to work out where more savings can be made.
Councillor Harker said: “It’s far too early to say what impact this will have at this stage, but we are starting now to look at the proposals.
“We’re having fortnightly meetings with council officers to look at how we are going to deal with things.”
But Steve Bennett, from the county branch of Unison, said there was no room left to make cuts at County Hall.
He said: “I don’t think there are any more back room services to be cut from, so I fear these savings will have to come from front line services.”
Politicians at County Hall could consider increasing the council tax to cover the funding gap, but the Government has told councils it does not want to see large tax hikes and said any increase above two per cent would have to be supported in a public referendum.
The council’s budget plans will be published for consultation in December and a final decision will be made in February next year.