A huge and unprecedented surge in the county’s population and associated demand on public services has added further pressure on Northamptonshire County Council’s budgets.
A raft of new figures show just how much demand for services is growing in Northamptonshire and how funding levels available are nowhere near the level to cope with such demand.
The new figures show nearly 900 children requiring a school place have moved into the county in the past three months alone. Put another way, with this rate of growth the council would have to build a new primary school every six weeks.
This together with traffic volumes on the county’s roads due to grow by another 23% in the next ten years, a rapidly increasing elderly population and a 42% increase in referrals to children’s services has meant public services are now facing unprecedented challenges.
Cllr Bill Parker said: “We often talk about the pressures we face as we try and balance our ever decreasing income with our soaring demand but the latest figures really do underline just how critical this position has become. Put simply if we didn’t take drastic action the position would simply not be sustainable.
“Our budget proposals today clearly outline how we plan to target our resources and create more efficiencies to allow us to face up to this challenge.”
The latest set of demographic figures show the following:
- Since the start of the current school year there have been almost 900 children arriving in the county needing a school place.
- Population to grow by up to 60,000 people in the next five years.
- Population to grow by more than 120,000 by 2037. The highest growth rate being those aged 70 and over.
- An additional £15m of pressures on children’s services in the next five years.
- We are safeguarding 24% more of our most vulnerable children in our care compared to 2012.
- 32% increase in number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children looked after by the council since April 2015.
- 50% increase in number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children looked after by the council since December 2013.
- Between 2008 and 2017 the council will have added 1,991 reception places and 13,999 primary places to cope with demand.
- 70% increase in the number of Safeguarding Alerts Adult Social Care must respond to in the last two years.