Targeted investment to transform services, help meet service demand, reduce costs and stabilise finances lies at the heart of Northamptonshire County Council’s revenue budget published today.
The draft budget, which proposes a 2.99% increase in Council Tax, lays the foundations for transforming a series of services and assets so they are fit for the future.
The budget also includes the addition of up to £70m after the Government agreed to the Commissioners’ request for a capital dispensation for the county. This allows the Council to use its own capital funds in new ways. It will not be used to balance the revenue budget but will specifically be used in the following way:
- £35m for the 17/18 deficit
- £20m to replenish 2019/20 reserves
Leader of the council Cllr Matt Golby said: “I am delighted the commissioners have been successful in their request for a capital dispensation. This will enable us to use our own resources to tackle the £35m deficit from 2017/18 and replenish our reserves to put us on a sustainable financial position.
“The proposed budget for 2019/20 outlines a fresh and new way for this organisation to rise to its financial challenges. In a series of targeted investments we are able to make significant savings in our running costs while at the same time transform our services to better meet demand.
“The budget confirms the savings already outlined and then builds on this work. It shows how we will get the basics right, stabilise our finances and then by working shoulder to shoulder with our partners and with communities begin to confidently move services towards the future.”
The proposed 2019/20 budget report outlines how investment could be pumped into adult’s and children’s homes and centres to provide better support for some of the county’s most vulnerable people, improve outcomes and become a key part of the delivery of a total of £42.9m revenue savings proposed across the council.
This includes proposals for investment in Adult Social Care centres and homes to provide new accommodation and services for older people, those with learning disabilities and mental health requirements to increase capacity and therefore reduce the reliance on costly external placements.
The proposals go on to outline investment in Children’s Services to build in-house provision including redeveloping a secure unit ready to use in 2020/21 and increasing occupancy at the council’s own residential homes to reduce the cost of using external service providers.
And new proposals for the county’s libraries are also published today. These see that by working alongside District, Borough, Town and Parish Councils and local communities the vast majority of libraries in the county would remain open to ensure the service is transformed and ready for the transition into two unitaries in the county if the Secretary of State approves the proposal.
The library proposals also include significant investment with a new library as part of the new community hub in Daventry, almost £1m invested to enhance facilities at libraries across the county and a bid submitted to the One Public Estate programme to look at the feasibility of a new Community Health and Wellbeing Hub in Weston Favell.
Cabinet member for finance Cllr Malcolm Longley added: “This is a draft budget I am proud to present for consultation. It shows that in these extraordinarily difficult times with the right investments on the right services we can make our services far more sustainable for the future.”