‘Miniscule’ £1.7m funding lifeline for Northamptonshire County Council is an ‘insult’

Councillor 'John McGhee has labelled a �1.7m funding package as an 'insult'.
Councillor 'John McGhee has labelled a �1.7m funding package as an 'insult'.

A government decision to give cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council an extra £1.7 million to spend over the next two years has been branded an insult by the opposition.

On Monday Local Government Secretary Greg Clark announced that the most hard hit authorities across the UK would get a £300m of “transitional grant” funding.

But the opposition Labour group says that Northamptonshire County Council’s extra £1.7 million slice is a fraction of the emergency funds being handed to Hertfordshire and Essex which are to receive £15.5 million and £14 million respectively.

Councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab, Northall), Labour’s finance spokesman on the council, said: “Of course, any additional funding is welcome, but let’s be quite clear £1.7 million this year and next is hardly going to plug the funding shortage Northamptonshire County Council faces. It’s just a drop in the ocean.

“This Tory council plans to make over £80 million in cuts next year as the Tories nationally continue to slash local government funding.

“Councils have been cut to the bone since 2010 and the Government’s current approach is unsustainable. There is a real and growing crisis in local government funding.”

The additional grant funding proposed by the government comes weeks after it said would be reducing central government grants to councils by of 6.7 per cent between 2016 and 2020.

The move left Northamptonshire needing to find an extra £4.5 million worth of savings in 2016/17 alone.

Councillor John McGhee (Lab, Kingswood), Labour’s leader on Northamptonshire County Council, said: “I think this minuscule amount of funding is simply too little, too late.

“It demonstrates that central Government does not have a proper understanding of the role and importance of local government.

“This is an insult to the people of Northamptonshire.”