Communities secretary ignores the 'elephant in the room' by failing to mention Northamptonshire's unfair funding formula in speech to council staff

Opposition leaders were left disappointed after the Communities secretary failed to mention Northamptonshire's unfair funding formula during a speech at the council's new headquarters.

Thursday, 12th October 2017, 4:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:23 pm
Sajid Javid officially opens One Angel Square - but fails to mention the funding shortfall in the county.
Sajid Javid officially opens One Angel Square - but fails to mention the funding shortfall in the county.

Sajid Javid, the man whose department decides how much spending is allocated to local councils across the country, officially opened the £53 million new One Angel Square buildings this afternoon following a short speech.

The minister refused to give interviews to the media, however, and failed to give an update on the ongoing talks between him and the county council chiefs who have been lobbying him for extra funds.

A month ago it was revealed councils, such as East Sussex, get £158 per head from the Government because of a historically unfair funding formula.

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The plaque unveiled during the opening today.

Labour group leader on the county council, Councillor Bob Scott (Lab, Lloyds) said the minister failed to address the "elephant in the room" as hundreds of staff looking on have just been told they might have to take one day's unpaid leave.

He said: "With the opening of the new building, this would have been an opportune moment for the Government to announce they were throwing us some money to keep us going."

Delivering his speech to hundreds of county council staff in the atrium of One Angel Square, Mr Javid praised their hard work.

"You get up and you come to work because you are passionate about delivering services for local people, from Brackley through to Corby," he said. "Because you want to make this county and people's lives better."

Chief executive Paul Blantern and Sajid Javid. Mr Blantern is due to leave the authority tomorrow.

Following a tour around the new building, council leader Councillor Heather Smith said she believed talks were progressing well with Mr Javid.

"He told us he was well aware of our funding situation and he was looking into it," she said.

"He couldn't say how much money we would get.

"Funding for any local authority will be decided as part of the Local Government Settlement which is a few months away yet."

Staff and dignitaries look on as the plaque is unveiled.

The Chron's petition to make Whitehall "review the share of Government money spent on Northamptonshire services," now has more than 900 signatures.

To sign it, click here

Council leader, Councillor Heather Smith tells the Chron talks with the Communities secretary are progressing well.
The plaque unveiled during the opening today.
Chief executive Paul Blantern and Sajid Javid. Mr Blantern is due to leave the authority tomorrow.
Staff and dignitaries look on as the plaque is unveiled.
Council leader, Councillor Heather Smith tells the Chron talks with the Communities secretary are progressing well.