Cabinet members and senior officers at Northamptonshire County Council will discover tomorrow (Wednesday) whether the Government will respond to local government funding pressures.
Chancellor Philip Hammond will tomorrow unveil his Autumn Budget, outlining the Government’s spending plans including the level of funding for local government.
Northamptonshire has one of the fastest growing populations in the country and demand for services is growing at an unprecedented rate, but the Government’s current funding formula does not take into account today’s demand levels and population data.
Key politicians and officers from the authority have been working hard to demonstrate that Northamptonshire is unfairly funded compared with most other county councils and that this is now starting to impact on its ability to protect frontline services.
Through its ongoing discussions with the government, the county council is asking for:
- The improved Better Care Fund to be made part of the base budget
- An extension of capital flexibilities
- Removal of the threshold for a council tax referendum
- Financial assistance for the rising Looked After Children population
- Full cost recovery for Unaccompanied Asylum Seekers
County council leader Cllr Heather Smith said: “Tomorrow’s Autumn Budget from the Chancellor will reveal whether our strong argument for a fairer funding deal for Northamptonshire has been heard.
“We have stepped up our efforts over the past few months to fight for a more equitable funding settlement for the people of Northamptonshire, holding meetings with the Secretary of State for Local Government, the finance chief at the Department for Communities and Local Government and other key representatives within the sector.
“We have already delivered savings and efficiencies totalling £376 million since 2010. By 2021, our total savings will have risen to £0.5 billion. We simply cannot continue as we are without an urgent review of the current funding formula for local councils like Northamptonshire.”
Figures from the DCLG show that if Northamptonshire County Council were to receive the same funding per head of population as East Sussex County Council, for example, which has a significantly smaller population, it would receive an extra £115m to spend on local services every year. This equates to an additional £159 per person.