15 September 2010

Northamptonshire County Council and the county’s seven MPs have called on the new coalition government to ensure the huge growth in population is reflected in future funding agreements.

A letter signed by the Leader of Northamptonshire County Council Cllr Jim Harker and the county’s seven MPs will be handed over to the government on Monday outlining concerns about fair funding for local authorities in the county.

The county council and politicians believe that current funding mechanisms do not reflect the substantial population growth that has already taken place.

Cabinet member for communications, strategy and external relations Cllr David Mackintosh said: “There is little doubt that the increasing budgetary pressures being experienced in Northamptonshire are being compounded by local authorities and the police being insufficiently funding due to the inherent weaknesses in the funding formula used by the previous government.

“As we start to prepare next year’s budget, and ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review, it is important that this issue is addressed as a matter of urgency.”

Northamptonshire formed a key part of the previous government’s growth agenda and was expected to provide almost 50% of housing growth across MKSM in the period to 2021, around 100,000 new homes.

Over the period 2001 to 2021, the number of houses in Northamptonshire was forecasted to increase by 39% against the national growth rate of 9% and this has been reflected in the respective forecast population growth rates of 19% and 5% from 2006 to 2021. However it is clear this funding process has had a negative impact on the local authorities’ budgets and their ability to deliver local services.

Councillor Mackintosh added: “At a time of increasing pressure on already strained budgets, it is vital that this matter is addressed immediately otherwise Northamptonshire will continue to be further penalised and under-funded.

“We all urge the government to adopt a more realistic and equitable approach when using population projections to determine future funding allocations, and would be glad to supply further background information to substantiate the issue.”

The seven MPs are;

  • Corby - Louise Bagshawe MP (Conservative)
  • Daventry - Chris Heaton-Harris MP (Conservative)
  • Kettering - Philip Hollobone MP (Conservative)
  • Northampton North - Michael Ellis MP (Conservative)
  • Northampton South - Brian Binley MP (Conservative)
  • Northamptonshire South - Andrea Leadsom MP(Conservative)
  • Wellingborough and Rushden - Peter Bone MP (Conservative)