I have consistently said that while there were some very bad financial and policy decisions taken locally at the County Council, it is also clear that government cuts to local government were always to blame. Actually, NCC is only the first of many councils on the brink. Some of the blame, therefore, must obviously fall with our local MPs who have again and again supported the Government’s attacks on local government.
One of the most depressing aspects of the whole mess was how the MPs in Northamptonshire turned on their Conservative council colleagues in an attempt to distance themselves from blame and ignored that they too had a part to play.
We shouldn’t be surprised at this however because very few MPs seem to have any understanding of how local government actually works. This is despite how important the local services councils provide are to their constituents. Certainly, the Conservative government only seem interested in projecting a blameless vision of themselves, regardless of how the consequences of that affect local services. Although they perhaps correctly realise that voters tend to vote on national and not local issues, even in local elections? So they can perhaps get away with ignoring local issues and not be penalised at the ballot box.
This is entirely consistent with their moves to unfairly push costs on to local taxpayers and the reason we will all be seeing more and more council tax increases and other charges over the next few years. This is because of the cuts from central funding will disproportionately and unfairly hit some areas and some people more. It will mean that more and more of council resources are taken up paying for things like Social Care for a few, leaving less cash to be spent on the day to day services we all benefit from.
That’s fine if you live a rich area where although the ability to raise cash is greater, the need for services is less, but devastating if you live in areas of deprivation where there is a desperate need for service. Although in Northamptonshire we have areas of wealth and low need, we also have large pockets where that is certainly not the case. Health and social indicators, again and again, highlight local areas of concern. An example is the Government's own social mobility commission report which placed Kettering, Corby, Wellingborough and Northampton well down the bottom of the list of all 324 council areas across the whole country for social mobility.
You can read what the New Statesman has to say on the matter by clicking here.