UK: Northamptonshire County Council and the obliteration of local authority services provision
28 August 2018
Conservative-run Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), which provides essential services to 733,100 people, epitomises the obliteration of local government in Britain. It declared effective bankruptcy in February and has a £70 million budget shortfall.
Last week NCC leader Matthew Golby announced that the council would only provide what was absolutely required by law.
The crisis in NCC is a result of the decades-long onslaught, exacerbated since the 2008 financial crash, on the public provision of services by the British ruling elite, resulting in their outsourcing and privatisation for the benefit of big business. The aim is to provide the bare minimum and consign the impoverished to seek support from charities and volunteers.
In a desperate attempt to stave off its crisis, NCC proposed a restructuring that will replace the county council and its seven district and borough councils with two unitary councils.
Even its proponents do not claim the restructure is a financial solution. admitting that “it potentially risks only redistributing the existing financial instability of NCC across two new organisations.”
In February, NCC became the first UK local authority for two decades to resort to a section 114 notice, preventing all new expenditure and imposing “immediate spending controls.”
The restructuring proposal followed a week after NCC voted to reduce its services to the bare legal minimum of what “we are obliged to deliver in line with our statutory duties.” It warned of “radical service reductions and efficiencies,” saying its financial black hole could reach £180 million within three years.
The “core services” strategy aims to…