Northamptonshire County Council may have to pay back a miss-spent £10m public grant

By Mick Scrimshaw on December 15, 2017

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Northants County Council is being audited because they have allegedly miss-spent a public grant which has led to another huge pressure as they may have to pay back £10m!

Public Health England gave the County Council a £10m grant to be spent on Public Health project. The money came with very strict guidelines as to exactly how and what the money should be spent on. These guidelines were not apparently kept to and Public Health England are now auditing the Council’s accounts with a view to taking the money back.

Clearly, this is one more example of financial mismanagement and it comes on the back of the hugely critical Local Government Association’s Review into their finances. This is yet another reason why we can have no confidence in the ability of the County Council to get itself out of the financial mess it’s got itself into without outside intervention.

Read abou thte Local Government Association's Review into Northamptonshire County Council by clicking here...

Next week the Council will announce another £27m worth of savings for next year. This is on top of the £9.6m already announced which already threaten local libraries, as well as bringing cuts to road maintenance and winter gritting plus axing of some bus routes and reducing almost half of Trading Standards Officers.

At the moment nobody knows exactly what the new cuts will be but the mood at the County Council has never been worse and both opposition and administration councillors have spoken to me about their fears that there will be seriously harmful cuts in services.

Traditionally the budgets set have just been a paper exercise with nobody but the Council’s Cabinet actually thinking they were deliverable, a view backed up by experience and the fact that the Council has had to dip into their depleted reserves and sell off buildings and assets to make them balance. Next year those options really aren’t going to be much of an option and there are less and less places for them to go.

How we can have faith in whatever they announce next week is beyond me and this new £10m threat just means that more and more services will be put at risk?

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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