Monthly County Council Report for Earls Barton Division
Monthly Council Report December 2018 Earls Barton Division Northamptonshire County Council
Cllr Rob Gough
Welcome to my first Council Report
I will be sending out a report every month to keep everyone updated on goings on at the County Council. There will be a lot of things happening from now until May 2020 when the Council is likely to be abolished, so I will be doing my best to keep people informed about the move to unitary councils, the financial situation, and anything else going on that affects people locally.
You can subscribe to my mailing list at the bottom of this email to receive monthly reports direct.
Unitary Authorities on the way This week, the Council was given confirmation by Central Government that local Government reorganisation would be happening, and that new Unitary authorities would be set up, with elections in May 2020. This means that all Borough, District and Parish elections due to take place in May 2019 have been postponed. This will hopefully be beneficial to Parish Council's as it will mean that any contested elections will take place at the same time as the Unitary Authority elections and thus save money.
A government consultation will now take place until 25th January 2019. If you would like more information on the consultation, please click here . It's important that everyone gets a chance to respond to this consultation, so the government has also provided a survey that anyone can fill in here.
Financial difficulties at the County Council but some relief on the way The financial situation at the Council remains precarious. The 2017/18 budget ended up with a deficit of £35 million pounds. As of November, the Council was running a deficit on this year's budget of around £18 million. Not a good place to be in but this was an improvement on the predicted £30 million overspend earlier this year.
In order to deal with this overspend, the Council, along with the government Commissioners put together a "stabilisation plan" designed to reduce this overspend. You can learn more about the plan here.
However, some additional good news has come out from the government. They have allowed the Council to use £70 million of Capital money, which includes money made from the sale of One Angel Square to help deal with the issues with the revenue budget. They have allowed the Council to spend £35 million of this to balance the budget for last year. Another £20 million has been allocated to rebuild the Council's reserves that were used up completely last year. The remaining £15 million is being held as a contingency to ensure that the budget balances this year.
It is really important that the County Council continues to control its spending. There is no excuse not to continue with some of the elements of the stabilisation plan and end the year with as much money in reserve as possible.
The budget for 2019/20 is going to be tight and will likely involve some difficult decisions, so anything that can be done to ensure that the Council's reserves are as high as they can be by next March will ensure that more services can continue next year. More information on the budget for 2019/20 will be announced on Monday 3rd December.
Wellingborough forming a Town Council
On Tuesday 27th November, Wellingborough Council unanimously agreed to set up a Town Council for Wellingborough.
This move means that the whole of the existing Borough will have its own local Council, when the Unitary authority comes into place. The Town of Wellingborough deserves its own voice and a Council to maintain and grow its unique identity. It will also include the urban extensions like Stanton cross.
Part of my County division goes into Wellingborough at Redhill Grange so I hope this this decision well benefit everyone in the town.
Hardwater Crossing Repairs Started The repairs to the bridge at Hardwater Crossing began on Monday 26th November and are planned to take 4 weeks to complete. I went down to have a look myself on Saturday, and the work appears to be well on its way.
A big thank you to everyone who contacted me, and the Council and the 2000 people who signed the petition to speed up the repairs. We managed to get these repairs started 3 months earlier than originally planned, so hopefully we will be able to drive over the bridge just before Christmas.
On a Personal Note Some of you may be aware already me and my wife are expecting our first child in May 2019. We have been told she is in fact a little girl. This makes her the first girl in my family for 35 years, but it is girl number 10 in a row my wife's family and continuing a 66 year tradition!