02 February 2010

Northamptonshire County Council is to write to the government strongly objecting to projected population figures which have been given for the county.

The council believes that there are serious flaws in the assumptions behind the proposed figures which have been prepared by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

These mean that the proposed figures are significantly lower than the latest forecasts prepared by the county council and lower than the projections ONS released in 2006.

As the amount of money the authority receives from central government is based upon the population projections there is a fear that the discrepancy could leave the county council and other public sector agencies, such as the Health Authority, short-changed.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for environment, growth and transport, said: “We all know that this area has been targeted for population growth but it seems as if this has been forgotten now with the statistics which have been issued.

“Regarding population, Northamptonshire is the fastest growing county in England and our figures show that this is only going to increase.

“We have been targeted by government, as part of the Milton Keynes South Midlands sub-region, as one of the four major hubs of economic and population expansion in the country.

“This is all well and good but we need the support of the government if this is going to happen and being short-changed really isn’t good enough.

“Most frustrating of all is that we have one government department telling us that growth is going to happen in Northamptonshire and then seemingly not telling another department so they can adjust their figures.”

The county council’s cabinet is set to discuss the matter at a meeting on Tuesday, February 9.

The statistics produced by the ONS are 2008-based projections are based on trends experienced in the county between 2003 and 2008. They take no account of future developments, many of which already have planning permission, or housing targets for Northamptonshire.

The gap between the 2008-based figures and the ONS 2006 figures is almost 50,000 people by 2023 – nearly six per cent.