Budget proposals unveiled by Northamptonshire County Council today include a further £77m of savings to be found next year on top of the £226m the authority has already saved since 2010.
Cabinet members accept that many of the proposals being put forward won’t be popular but say the council is running out of options as it works to ensure ever declining resources are directed towards the most critical services.
Proposals include a reduction in children’s centre services, a reduction in funds for the fire service and highways maintenance, a cut in the subsidies given to bus services, the cessation of Nourish school meals service and decommissioning two care homes run by Olympus Care Services.
Cabinet member for finance Cllr Bill Parker said: “No-one enters public service or local government to reduce services. Therefore every proposal to reduce or stop funding in certain areas is not put together lightly and indeed we know that some of them will not be popular.
“However we are now in a position where tough choices have to be made. Over the past five years we have done all we can to protect front line services as much as possible from the huge reductions in government funding this county has experienced. We have transformed our back office into one of the most successful shared services offerings in the country saving Northamptonshire taxpayers millions of pounds.
“We have worked to make our services as efficient as possible, we have kept our council tax the lowest in the country and 11 per cent lower than the average county rate. We have a proud track record in delivering savings in a way which best protected our front line.
“This year however we have approached the situation that certain proposals have to be put on the table and it is now vital that people across the county use our survey to let us know their thoughts on these proposals and how they might be impacted if they were to go ahead.”
The budget consultation launches today.