Fears over ‘frightening’ £30 million overspend

Vulnerable children could be 'hit by sudden cuts'
Vulnerable children could be 'hit by sudden cuts'

Services supporting the county’s most vulnerable people are heading for a £30 million overspend.

Opposition councillors say they were shocked to learn Northants County Council is projected to spend £19 million more than budgeted for on children’s services and £11 million over on adult services.

An extra £12 million was allocated to social services after a damning Ofsted report in 2013 and despite a £11.5 million raid of reserves, there is still £18 million to recover in just six months.

Councillor Michael Brown, finance spokesman for the council’s UKIP and independent group, said: “A £30 million overspend? We have got a problem – that’s frightening.

“They are taking it from a strategic reserve which 
means they will have to pay it back.

“But where are we going to find that kind of money from?

“They’re up the creek without a paddle. It’s poor budgeting.”

The overspend was revealed at a cabinet meeting at County Hall on Tuesday.

Adam Collyer, leader of the UKIP and independent group, thinks the report shows finances are ‘spinning out of control’.

He said: “There will have to be some very severe, very sudden cuts and that’s when people will be hit.”

Chris Lofts, Liberal Democrat councillor for Towcester Brook Ward, said he is ‘deeply concerned’.

He said: “The finances of this council are spiralling out of control, and the administration continuing to bury their head in the 
sand is simply not good enough.”

A spokesman for the Tory controlled county council said: “Earlier this year we set aside additional funding in order to make improvements to our children’s services at the same time as continuing to face unprecedented demand for adult social care.

“A special task force was set up to work with all service areas to identify how the council can work to deliver a balanced budget in light 
of these increases in 
spending.

“We are currently in the process of setting the budget for the coming financial year and will be reviewing all spending as part of this process.”