Monthly Council Report March 2019 Earls Barton Division Northamptonshire County Council
Cllr Rob Gough
Welcome to the March edition of my County Council Report
At the end of last month, the County Council passed its budget for 2019/20. We also had some good news on the current year’s budget.
2018/19 Budget nearly balanced As of the Cabinet meeting for February, the County Council's projected overspend for this year has decreased significantly from the previous month.
In January it was predicted to be around £11 million. However, this month the amount stands at £1.4 million. This is an enormous achievement and praise should be given to officers at the Council, the Chief Executive, the Commissioners and the Cabinet for getting on top of this problem and bringing the finances back under control.
£1.4 million is still too much, but after an overspend of £35 million in 2017/18 and the situation looking similar last year. I hope this means things are finally going in the right direction and that the new Unitary Authorities will get the best chance to succeed in 2020.
Budget for 2019-20 Agreed
On Thursday 21st February, the Council agreed its budget for the next financial year. This included a 4.99% rise in Council Tax which includes an additional 2% which NCC was given special dispensation to raise. I am not normally a supporter of tax rises. But the amount that the tax is being raised further demonstrates the absolute failure of the previous administration to control spending. It is really important that the future unitary authorities are able to be set up with as little burden from the former Councils as possible. This rise will help to make sure that can happen. It should also be noted that the Council tax in this County continues to be one of the lowest in the Country.
The Council Tax increase would amount to an additional 75p to £1 a week for the 70 per cent of county residents living in properties within the Council Tax Bands of A to C. This would raise an additional £5.8m which will be used as follows:
An extra £475,000 to permanently reinstate the previous winter gritting and winter maintenance of roads.
Scrapping plans to charge for community use of schools by uniformed and community groups.
An additional £1.2m for Children’s Services.
A reversal of plans to charge for higher specification community equipment.
An extra £673,000 towards independent adult social care placement.
As mentioned above, the County Council decided to scrap it's plans to cut the Community use of Schools grants that helps groups like the Scouts operate in the County and do loads of good for children locally.
I would like to thank Northamptonshire Scouts and other community groups that lobbied hard for this reversal. I am particularly thankful to the scouts for providing the lovely new badges to each County Councillor that you can see below.
I'm sure it will end up on my wife's guiding blanket.
Davis Commercial Services Ltd
Recently I had the privilege of visiting Davis Commercial Services Ltd which is based in Earls Barton. The company recycles commercial fridges for a number of large businesses including well known Supermarkets.
It was great to have a look around the facility and the sheer volume of work that is carried out in one of our villages. A real great success story locally with plans for expansion.
When I was at DCS, I met with Touka their Senior Business Development Manager to discuss their interest in assisting in some community projects locally, particularly based around Recycling and the environment. With this in mind, if you are involved in any projects locally or know of any that would benefit from some additional support, please get in touch with me and I will be happy to put you in touch.
Grendon Hall We were recently informed of the unfortunate news that Grendon Hall would be closing at the end of this month as an outdoor activity centre. I remember going there a number of times when I was at school and for other events. It would be really sad to lose this site to something like housing or another use that would not benefit the local community. I hope all of you can spare 5 minutes to sign and share this petition. It’s really important that there is a chance for people locally to have their say on Grendon Hall's future.
You can sign the petition HERE.
Finally on a personal note As many of you are aware, my wife is currently pregnant. As of this report she is a little under 30 weeks. Unfortunately, due to complications in the pregnancy, it is likely that the baby may be coming in the next few weeks. My wife has been in and out of hospital recently and I have been doing what I can to keep her comfortable and making sure our house it ready for a little one.
This may mean that I am a little slower that usual at getting back to emails and I may not be able to get to every meeting that I would like to. Hopefully, everything will be resolved soon and we will have a happy healthy little girl who could be coming along with me to some of the Parish Council meetings.