Some numbers are just too big.
Numbers like £77 million are too big.
Then something dreadful happens and the number changes to £84 million. Then if you scope in that £84 million pounds is to be taken out of Northamptonshire County Council services over just 12 months with a plan to outsource of nearly all council services, it simply is too much.
This comes on top of over £226 million cuts since 2010 and further planned cuts over the following four years.
In December 2015, the County Council proposed it budget for the next financial year factoring in £77 million of cuts. Challenging and cutting services deeper than the bone. In January new cuts were announced bringing the total to £84 million. The additional cut has brought about a situation that even in Scrutiny meetings (which are controlled by the same political party as those proposing the cuts) hear from senior officers that there simply isn’t anything more to cut.
I notice that when invited to County Hall staff are no longer allowed to offer tea of coffee to guests and when in meetings convened by the County Council agendas are shared one between three. As idiosyncratic as this may be, it is nothing compared to the really serious questions about the future of the County Council and the services they provide to local people.
It seems like the administration has high hopes for the outsourcing of the functions of the County Council. These were announced in 2014 but no business plans have been shared so really, how is it going to work? An interim Chief Executive of the Well Being Community Interest Company departed in December after six months after fronting a whole series of consultation and business development meetings with a whole range of partners over the County.
The Government have shown some mercy with an additional £1.7 million but juxtaposed the other immense numbers it is simply a drop in the ocean.
Local people have come together with a new campaign called Save Northants Services.
So if you care about local services - Act NOW.
The budget will be agreed on Thursday at a Cabinet meeting. Make sure you get you voice heard.
Members of the public can request to speak for 3 minutes at the meeting, by contacting Barbel Gale; email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01604 367730.
Please request the opportunity to speak also ask for a copy of the reports for agenda items 5 and 6, which are not yet published on the website.
Please note that a request to speak to the Cabinet meeting next Thursday has to be submitted before 12.00 noon next Tuesday (16th).
Save Northants Services is encouraging as many people to register to speak as possible. Please let us know if you submit a request. Thanks