Northamptonshire County Council is launching a campaign for a fairer funding deal with a direct appeal to the Secretary of State.
Northamptonshire has one of the fastest growing populations in the country and demand for services is growing at an unprecedented rate, but the Government’s current funding formula does not take into account today’s demand levels and population data.
If Northamptonshire County Council were to receive the same funding per head of population as East Sussex County Council, for example, which has a significantly smaller population, it would receive an extra £115m to spend on local services every year. This equates to an additional £159 per person.
Council leader Cllr Heather Smith has now written to Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid to call for an urgent review of the current funding formula.
A letter has also been sent to all seven county MPs calling for their support in the campaign for a fairer funding deal for Northamptonshire.
Cllr Smith said: “While we have always managed to deliver a balanced budget, it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance the increasing demand for local services against the reducing level of funding we receive from central government – which is significantly less than many comparable county councils.
“Since 2010, we have delivered savings and efficiencies totalling £376 million, which have involved some very difficult decisions affecting local services. By 2021, our total savings will have risen to £0.5 billion.
“Unfortunately, this still isn’t enough.
“We are working incredibly hard to manage the severe financial pressures but we need an urgent review of the Government’s funding formula for local councils to ensure we get a fair deal for residents and put us in a stronger position to protect frontline services as much as possible.”
Decisions on hold
The financial pressures are exacerbated by the fact some of the Government decisions affecting Northamptonshire are on hold, such as the future of social care funding, a review of business rate distribution and new bids for county unitary authority status.
A report outlining the county council’s financial challenge and the campaign for a funding review by the Secretary of State will be discussed by Cabinet today (Tuesday).