NCC final budget lays foundations for new unitary councils in Northants
|Author: Liam Beasley||Published: 4th November 2019 16:35|
Northamptonshire County Council has published its draft budget for 2020/2021 today – laying the foundations for the transition to two new unitary authorities from April 2021.
In what is likely to be the county council’s final budget the authority has outlined £23.2million savings from an estimated net revenue budget of £447.71million as it continues to stabilize its finances.
The draft budget report is being published a month earlier than normal to allow more time for scrutiny and consultation.
Budget development has been mindful of growing demand pressures in adult services and the need to bring improvements to Children’s Services following feedback from Ofsted and as it transforms into a Children’s Trust.
In adult services work is continuing to make sure the council is getting the best value on external contracts while new ways of working are also being introduced to establish best practice.
A new rapid response service is also being set up to provide immediate support for people who have suffered a fall – reducing hospital admissions.
In Children’s Services – the council will develop its in-house fostering capacity while also strengthening the support offered to children on the edge of care.
Work to establish financial reserves is also continuing with the general and earmarked reserves total standing at £40.4million. This is comprised of £20million general reserves with the remainder earmarked across services.
And with continued financial stability the council is proposing to increase staff pay by 4 per cent in recognition of their hard work.
Cllr Matt Golby, Leader of Northamptonshire County Council said: “A tremendous amount of work has taken place in the past 18 months to stabilize the finances at the county council and to start making the way for the transition to two new authorities in the county from April 2021.
“What this budget does is build on the work already started last year to build financial robustness into the system and to develop services so that they are more sustainable.
“I’m also delighted that we can reward staff for all their efforts over the past few months with an above-inflation pay award. They all very much deserve this.
“I’m enormously proud of the work that has taken place to bring this report forward and soon, after Cabinet has given its approval, the people of Northamptonshire will have the opportunity to have their say on the proposals.”
It is proposed to increase Council Tax by 3.99%, comprised of a 1.99% rise in the core Council Tax and a 2% social care precept.
Even with this increase this is still one of the lowest county Council Tax rates in England.
Cllr Malcolm Longley, county council cabinet member for finance said: “This is a draft budget I am proud to present for consultation.
“I’m pleased that we have increased the financial robustness of the council to have reserves standing at just over £40million, when you consider our position just a few months ago is a remarkable achievement.”
The report will be discussed before Cabinet on Tuesday, November 12 at 2pm and, if approved, the consultation will go live the following day.
A final budget report will be brought back before Cabinet in February before final approval is sought before Full Council later that month.