09 February 2010

Final proposals for Northamptonshire County Council’s budget have been published today with council tax set to remain as the lowest county rate in the country with vital savings balanced with real investment in priority areas.

In a bid to help the council prepare for the future pressures on public spending savings of more than £21m are being proposed mainly made up of making services run more efficiently and by looking to start remodelling services to help people help themselves.

These savings, along with the proposed 3.5 per cent rise in council tax, are allowing the council to pump cash into front-line priority areas with an extra £4.8m being proposed for health and adult social services and an extra £2.9m for children and young people.

Today’s proposals have several key changes from those published in December after consultation with residents and the council’s scrutiny committee. Among a series of changes the proposed reduction in funding for the music services is being scaled down, and proposals to review meals on wheels have been shelved both as a direct result of people’s feedback.

Cabinet member for finance Bill Parker said: “This budget is one which will see us retain our proud position as charging the lowest council tax rate of any county council in the country by making a series of wide ranging efficiencies making sure our priority front line services are improved but are done so at a lower cost.

“It is no secret that we are facing some real challenges over the next few years with estimates showing that by 2014 we will need to have saved at least £100m. To do this it is clear we will have to reshape the way the authority provides services. This budget lays the foundations for this work.

“We are delighted so many people have got involved in our consultation this year with four times as many people taking part as last year and this feedback has had a very real impact on our proposals. And of course we will be increasing opportunities for people to have their say even further over the next month with the You Choose campaign which will be looking to get people’s views on how we meet our bigger challenges running up to 2014.”