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Have your say on Council’s budget proposals

Finance

21 December 2022

Neat stacks of one pound coins

People are encouraged to have their say on how West Northamptonshire Council has balanced its budget amid continuing financial pressures.

Initially the Council faced a predicted budget shortfall of almost £60 million for the coming financial year due to a range of factors including high inflation, which is driving up running costs, and a significant increase in demand for services.

Members of the Cabinet met last night (Tuesday 20 Dec) to discuss a range of saving and efficiency proposals which will allow the Council to meet that shortfall, while protecting vital frontline services.

Those proposals are now subject to a six-week consultation, giving people an opportunity to share their views ahead of the final budget going to Full Council in February.

People have until the end of January to have their say, by completing the survey on our Consultation Hub

The survey can be accessed online for free at libraries across West Northants, or you can request a copy in another format by emailing [email protected] or phoning 0300 126 7000.

The draft budget features a broad range of proposals to bridge the funding gap, including:

  • Increasing fees and charges for services such as garden waste collections and car parking, aligning them with the national average to fairly reflect today’s operating costs, and allowing the Council to meet the demand in critical services protecting vulnerable adults and children.
  • Reviewing services to make them more efficient while saving hundreds of thousands of pounds. The proposals include reviewing the policy, processes and systems for the Home to School Transport service to reduce running costs, and the introduction of three-weekly waste collections in South Northants and some parts of Northampton, to bring the service in line with the Daventry area.
  • Raising Council Tax by 4.99%, in line with the Government’s allowance, generating additional funding of around £11.5 million - with 2% of the increase going towards adult social care.
  • Restructuring service areas within the organisation and introducing new, more efficient ways of working to make back office savings without impacting on how services are delivered to residents.
  • Investing significant extra funding to meet the increasing demand for adult and children’s services, providing more cost effective and better preventative care for vulnerable residents.

During the next financial year the Council plans to carry out a capital investment programme of more than £12.2 million to improve local roads, including a £4.7 million fund towards repairing potholes.

Public health funding will be earmarked for a range of schemes aimed at improving residents’ wellbeing, reducing health inequalities and continuing to support communities through this period of high inflation.

The Council will also continue to deliver upon plans to drive economic growth in West Northants, with further progress expected on the multi-million-pound regeneration of Northampton through the Government’s Towns Fund, starting with the Market Square transformation in the New Year.

“In common with councils up and down the country, we are experiencing financial pressures.

“The challenge of bridging the £60 million funding gap left us with some very tough decisions, so we have produced a set of proposals that address the pressures we are under, while allowing us to continue to protect the most vulnerable in our society, and deliver services to residents across our communities.

“Your feedback is very important to us, so please take the time to tell us what you think, as this will help councillors make a final decision on the budget in February.”
Councillor Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance on West Northamptonshire Council.
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