A Local Deal between the people of the county and Northamptonshire County Council is being proposed as the council publishes full details of how it aims to face up to the biggest financial challenge in its history.
Today the council is publishing for the first time a full four-year budget framework showing how it proposes to save around £100m between now and 2016 to help cope with slashed government funding and more people to provide services for.
And central to these proposals is a new Local Deal for the county with the council vowing once again to keep council tax the lowest in the country this year, make further savings in its back office, provide the right conditions for growth and prosperity and providing services where people can’t help themselves.
In return it is asking the people of Northamptonshire to come forward and volunteer to help deliver some of the council’s key services to save taxpayers money and to take advantage of opportunities the council provides to help people help themselves.
Leader of the council Cllr Jim Harker said: “We want this budget to be the start of a Local Deal between the people of Northamptonshire and us here at the council. This budget shows how we will make further back-office savings. It shows how we will freeze council tax this year to remain the lowest county council tax in the country and it shows how we will look to innovate with radical new partnerships with other authorities and companies to help save money even further while providing the right conditions to boost growth and prosperity in the county.
“In return though we are asking people across the county to get further engaged in the services we know they value so much. To help us bring costs down for example we need volunteers to help at libraries and to help at country parks.
“However of course there are still some very difficult proposals and potentially some very painful decisions to take as we look to make our services and our organisation more affordable. It is vital therefore that, as ever, people use the opportunity of the consultation taking place to look through our proposals, and let us know about concerns they have or alternative suggestions, or how we might work to minimise the impacts some proposals may have on them.”
The budget published today gives details of proposed savings to take place over the period 2012 to 2016 to make sure people see the full scope of proposals rather than tackling the £100m savings year by year with separate proposals.
Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bill Parker said: “It is a significant achievement to be in a position today to publish our proposals taking us through the next few years which are likely to be some of the most challenging in our history.
“The proposals published today give full details of exactly how we will rise to the challenges we find facing us and I would encourage people to come forward and give us their views. This is a challenge we can only rise to by working together. I do think the Local Deal shows the way in which we can do just that.”