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Lib Dems West Northamptonshire Council Budget Response

Author: Kate Nash - Lib Dem Published: 17th February 2023 07:28

West Northamptonshire Council Budget Response


1.  Subsidies for Bus Services


The Liberal Democrats are proposing additional funding to ensure that up to six bus routes under threat of loss, continue to receive a subsidy for at least the coming year.


“We have several bus routes that have received some council subsidies for a number of years”, says Brixworth Ward Liberal Democrat Councillor, Jonathan Harris.  “All bus routes have suffered as a result of the pandemic and many have yet to see a recovery to pre-pandemic passenger numbers” he continues.  “I represent a large rural ward in West Northants, and we currently have two main bus routes along the A5199 and A508 corridors, both providing services between Northampton and Market Harborough, with both services passing through Brixworth.  Removing the 59/60 would mean that places like Creaton, Hollowell, Guilsborough, Thornby, Naseby, Welford, Clipston, Marston Trussell and Sibbertoft would have no public transport connection at all.  That is totally unacceptable, especially when you look at the figures for last year, with over 20,000 passenger journeys being completed on 59/60.”


West Northants Council has employed a consultant to review buses and look at bus solutions. It was expected that an initial report would come forward in January, but to date there have been no such proposals. The Liberal Democrats have led a petition which is nearing 400 signatories from people who are asking the council to reconsider.


At a recent meeting, there were objections made to the introduction of parking charges at the Racecourse car park in Northampton and the council backed down, which means the council will need to find a shortfall of £60,000 from its contingency fund to cover loss in revenue.


“It does sometimes feel as though our rural areas come second”, says Cllr Rosie Humphreys, Lib Dem Councillor for Braunston and Crick.  Daventry is facing higher council tax charges for this third year of harmonisation than both Northampton and South Northamptonshire, yet we are seeing services like this at risk”.


It is expected that several Parish Chairs along the route will make representation to the council on Wednesday 22nd February at the Full Council budget meeting.


2.  Investment in Early Interventions to Support Families and Prevent Children Going into Care

The Liberal Democrats have two other key progressive proposals, including the investment of £1.5 million from the transformation reserve for early intervention to support families, volunteer and youth groups to prevent children being taken into care.


“70% of children being taken into care is due to neglect - a truly staggering figure”, says Sally Beardsworth, Lib Dem Group Leader at the council. “We rightly have an absolute duty to do all that we can to protect children. The cost of care for some children is huge and we believe that this is due to under investment in preventative measures over a long period of time. Figures have indicated that Northamptonshire combined has the 14th lowest spend on youth services (out of 173 local authorities) and has declined by 94% since 2010. You reap what you sow. We have to go upstream, invest more in family hubs and youth services. If we get this right, we could save millions. We would work in partnership with the Children’s Trust for full effectiveness”


3.  Loan Scheme to Make Homes Better Insulated 


The Lib Dems are also proposing an interest free loan scheme to enable residents on middle incomes to carry out works to their homes to improve insulation and to make them more heat efficient.


“The government have largely withdrawn their schemes, apart from at the lowest income levels.  But most people are suffering and want to do more to reduce their energy usage, especially with the severe cost of living crisis at hand. This would be a highly innovative approach and contribute to the council’s overall net zero goal for 2045”, says Cllr Harris.


The council meeting takes place on Wednesday 22nd in the Main Hall, Guildhall, Northampton.


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Ian McCord
At 11:58 on 17th February 2023, Ian McCord commented:
It would also be a good idea to mention that Lib Dems from Northampton were moaning that car parking in Towcester is free while it is charged for at Northampton. They were not alone, Labour and Conservatives all from Northampton made similar points at the recent cabinet meeting. Find it on You Tube for Cabinet meeting Mon 13 Feb.

So these proposals to address bus provision is probably an acknowledgement that you need a bus service to end free parking. Beware its real intent.

However, Towcester, take note, all parties are coming for you and wanting to charge for parking.
peter k
At 11:50 on 23rd February 2023, peter k commented:
Regarding parking charges. We have all noticed the virtual demise of Northampton due mainly to parking expenses. The same could happen in Towcester. We are after all an area village hub and our footfall important.

In my view a town should be seen as "a club". Free entry to get members (customers) in and any money made from "bar profits"

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