THE county hall spin machine went into overdrive this week as councillors promised a freeze in council tax in return for tax payers helping to run services.
Seven press releases were sent out in seven minutes on Tuesday as Northants County Council launched a consultation on budget proposals which could see £100 million cut from public spending over the next four years.
As part of the budget NCC is proposing a ‘Local Deal’ by asking for volunteers to come forward to help run services such as libraries and has dedicated a new section of its website - www.northamptonshire.gov.uk - to show what roles need to be filled.
But NCC’s cabinet member for finance, Bill Parker said the council is not getting away unscathed and announced £18 million savings through reorganisation of its back office and increasing the services shared with other organisations.
Mr Parker said they had always been proud to offer the lowest council tax demand in the country, and is especially pleased to be doing so once again in the back drop of the current economic crisis. He added: “By pegging our council tax back we are making sure that people keep money in their own wallets - and at this hugely testing time for our whole country this has never been more important.”
The budget also proposes the transformation of some services into stand alone, self financing organisations, including the Northants Music and Performing Arts School which runs the Brackley and Towcester music schools. And while the budget sees extra investment in services for young people and the elderly there will also be increases in charges for adult social care.
Lib Dem finance spokesman Chris Stanbra said a slick marketing campaign could not hide the impact on the most vulnerable and criticised the Tory administration for not having savings to fall back on.