Northampton

Northamptonshire County Council: £65m of cuts agreed

One Angel Square, Northamptonshire County Council HQ
Image caption Northamptonshire County Council's cost cutting measures include clawing back £6m by increasing the number of people who pay council tax

A cash-strapped county council which had commissioners appointed after it faced a financial crisis has agreed a £65m package of cuts.

Northamptonshire County Council's cabinet backed a so-called "stabilisation plan".

Planned spending cuts on agency staff and highways services are among the main proposed savings.

Commissioners were appointed in May to oversee the council over fears it was struggling to balance its books.

The council is aiming to save an additional £20.1m in 2018-19, on top of £45m of already planned cuts.

Analysis

By Sam Read, political reporter, BBC News, Northamptonshire

This council is in a financial position more serious than any council has ever been before, so it's not a surprise the remedy is attracting criticism.

More than 200 headteachers have signed a letter to say the savings go too far. The leaders of the county's borough and district councils signed a letter to say the savings aren't coming quick enough.

There's fire from all angles.

Some in the Conservative administration are keen to say the plan was drawn up by commissioners, officials sent in by the government. The commissioners insist this council is only being asked to do what other authorities do already.

But everyone seems to agree the plan has many risks and achieving the savings by March is ambitious. Alternative plans are already being developed to help.

This plan has been approved today, but many questions remain.

The cost-cutting measures also include clawing back £6m by increasing the number of people who pay council tax.

But the leaders of the district councils in Northamptonshire said they were "concerned" at the county's ability to cover the additional £20.1m shortfall and projected gaps between expenditure and income for the following two years.

The leaders of Daventry, Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough, Northampton, East Northamptonshire and South Northamptonshire councils also expressed "genuine sympathy" at county council's plight.

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