BREAKING NEWS: County council reveals planned cuts to school meals, bus services and children’s centres in £77 million of savings

Bill Parker, Jim Harker, Paul Blantern. ENGNNL00120131012160733
Bill Parker, Jim Harker, Paul Blantern. ENGNNL00120131012160733

Cuts to children’s centre services, bus services, school meals and the fire service are being proposed in a budget county council chiefs have admitted “won’t be popular”.

Northamptonshire County Council has unveiled plans to find a further £77 million of savings next year on top of the £225 million the council has already saved.

In a statement, the cabinet members said it accepted the moves would not be popular but they were running out of options.

“The council is running out of options as we work to ensure declining resources are directed towards to the most critical services.

“Proposals include a reduction in children’s centre services, a reduction in funds for the fire service and highways maintenance, a cut in the subsidies given to the bus services, the cessation of Nourish school meals service and decommissioning two care homes run by Olympus Care Services,” the statement said.

Cabinet member for finance, Councillor Bill Parker, said: “No-one enters public service or local government to reduce services.

“Therefore, every proposal to reduce or stop funding in certain areas is not put together lightly, and indeed we know that some of them will not be popular.

“However, we are now in a position where tough choices have to be made. Over the past five years, we have done all we can to protect front line services as much as possible from the huge reductions in government funding this county has experienced.

“We have transformed our back office into one of the most successful shared services offerings in the country, saving Northamptonshire taxpayers millions of pounds.

“We have worked to make our services as efficient as possible; we have kept our council tax the lowest in the country and 11 per cent lower than the average county rate.

“We have a proud track record in delivering savings in a way which best protected our front line.

“This year, however, we have approached the situation that certain proposals have to be put on the table, and it is now vital that people across the county use our survey to let us know their thoughts on these proposals and how they might be impacted if they were to go ahead,” he said.