Northampton

Northamptonshire councils to pay £1.8m to scrap themselves

One Angel Square, Northamptonshire County Council HQ
Image caption Northamptonshire's two new unitary authorities will open for business on 1 April 2021

Eight councils will each have to pay almost £2m to fund their own scrapping.

Northamptonshire County Council's financial problems in 2018 led to a scheme to dissolve it and seven other district and borough councils.

The estimated cost of reorganisation is £44m, but the councils have to fill a £15m funding gap - £1.88m each.

Jonathan Nunn, leader of Northampton Borough Council, said it was "a lot of money", but the cost could come down in the future.

The money is coming from central government, the county council, and a pilot for the council to keep some business rates, with the council now providing the rest.

Last month the government approved the plan for one new unitary authority for the north of the county and one for the west.

A 26-page document has been published which sets out the plan for those authorities.

They will begin in April 2021, a year later than planned.

Mr Nunn said they would be "working through the budget now they had more time".

Image caption Northamptonshire County Council twice banned spending in 2018

Tom Beattie, the leader of Labour-led Corby Borough Council said it was being "penalised" for the "very bad running" of the Conservative-run county council.

Mr Nunn said the original deadline of next year meant they "could have gone from one county council with financial challenges to two unitaries with financial challenges".

But the delay means they have "time to transform services, make them better and more cost effective".

The document declared the transformation to two authorities as a "once in a generation opportunity".

But one idea in the document, to put children's services into a single in independent trust, has been criticised.

Former Labour MP for Northampton North, Sally Keeble, said it should scrap those plans saying it "will do nothing for the county's children".

It follows two serious case reviews into the murders of two young children.

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