A Northamptonshire public services campaigner believes the Government's policy of low taxation amid a backdrop of austerity is to blame for the county council's dire financial situation.
Paul Crofts, from the Save Northants Services group, was speaking last night at the NCC Cuts debate organised by BBC Radio Northampton, which will be aired tonight.
The issue, he said, could be traced back to the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government formed after the 2010 general election.
"I think we are facing a systemic national and local crisis," said Mr Crofts.
"There is a systemic failure based on ideology sold through austerity that low taxation is good. It’s not."
He added: "People know the effect of the cuts. They know it’s going to hurt people.
"The Tories have failed since 2010 and the crisis.
"We need a change to politics nationally and locally."
The points raised by Mr Crofts were put to Northamptonshire County Council leader Heather Smith, who sat on the debate panel alongside Danny Moody from Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils and Penny Smith from Unison.
“When the Conservatives and Lib Dems took over in 2010 the country was virtually bankrupt,” said Councillor Smith.
“I don’t accept that it’s ideology leading us in the county council.
“I’m passionate about protecting the most vulnerable. We have to put more money into adult and children services, and that’s why services I don’t want to cut are being looked at.”
You can listen to the full recording of the debate, hosted by Stuart Linnell, tonight (Tuesday, Dec 19) from 6pm-7pm on BBC Radio Northampton.