Northampton MP withdraws support for county council in wake of plan to cut £9.6m

Michael Ellis says the county council "does not enjoy my full support."
Michael Ellis says the county council "does not enjoy my full support."

The MP for Northampton North Michael Ellis says he is "deeply concerned" with the county council's plans to cut £9.6million from services.

He has also called a meeting of all seven MPs in Northamptonshire this week to discuss how to discuss the measures, which would take effect in the new financial year.

Leader of the County Council Heather Smith at the opening of One Angel Square, the new headquarters.

Leader of the County Council Heather Smith at the opening of One Angel Square, the new headquarters.

It comes after the county council announced how buses, children's services and trading could all be hit by the savings, and even close up to 28 county libraries.

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Michael Ellis MP said: "I'm seriously concerned. I have many vulnerable residents in my constituency who rely on county council services. The county council has some very serious questions that need answering.

"The county council leadership do not enjoy my full support. I'm deeply concerned about the situation and I'm not satisfied with their responses so far.

"I've called this meeting with all seven MPs, possible [Tuesday] evening, and also I've called for a meeting with the secretary of state for communities Sajid Javid."

Some residents have criticised the county council that their long-held maxim of having "the lowest council tax in the country" has now led to shortage of cash available to support services today.

Additionally, the Chronicle & Echo can also reveal the council is on the verge of depleting its £12million reserves to balance the budget this year.

But today (October 23) the MP would not comment on what the authority could do to avoid the cuts, including if they should push up council tax for residents.

If needed, a cash-strapped county council can hold a local referendum to increase their council tax by more five per-cent, a limit otherwise set by central Government.

The Chronicle asked Mr Ellis if this is something he thinks should happen in Northamptonshire - but the MP would not comment.

Mr Ellis said: “No, you’ve got some good newsworthy lines out of me and I’m not going to comment on [a council tax referendum] at this time.”