Hello, I'm Beth!
I am proud to be Labour's Candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire, fighting for the community I call home.
The government gets the answer they want
Posted on 28th Aug 2018 in Northants County Council
Northants Council Councillors met today to decide whether to make a proposal to the Government for a new model of local government here.
As you all know, none of us have really been given any choice in terms of the proposal. The Government asked for proposals but made the guidelines so rigid that they knew they’d get the answer they wanted. They said any proposals had to be for a unitary authority, and that Northants was too big for just one unitary authority, and too small for three, so we HAD to propose two. Not much choice there then. 🤔
They knew they could push this through with the support of their Conservative Councillors who make up a majority on NCC (and many of whom are responsible for this mess!). And there’s reports that allegedly those councillors who were wavering had pressured applied to them by the 7 Conservative MPs in Northamptonshire, asking them to toe the line.
So today, miraculously (or not), the Government got the answer they wanted. The Tory Councillors voted overwhelming to submit a proposal for two unitary authorities.
This now gives the Government the approval it needed to impose a unitary authority on us and in the process scrap Corby Borough Council and East Northants District Council. This is despite 95% of respondents to Corby’s consultation saying they didn’t want it.😮😠
That is one thing but what’s really got my goat is the total lack of consideration for the resilience of any new authority.
The Government have said it will inherit all of NCC’s existing debt on top of paying for the restructuring costs. To my mind, that’s setting it up for failure.
The Tory Leader of NCC has said he has had ‘assurances’ from the Government that any new authority won’t be set up to fail. But we all know the Government has to say this and it’s convenient for the Leader to take it hook, line and sinker. 🎣
The Government is giving these so called ‘assurances’ because they know other councils are on a cliff edge and don’t want to set a precedent of bailing out failing councils.
They’re burying their head in the sand rather than sorting out the root problems: Tory national underfunding, local Tory mismanagement arisen from ideological folly (outsourcing, huge payouts only to bring people back as consultants days later etc) and a complete lack of regard for how social care is going to be funded in years ahead.
We must make sure:
- any new authority does not inherit the debt;
- the Government recognises the chronic underfunding of local government; and
- they look at smart policies to deal with our ageing population and the associated care needs.
On that latter point, if I were our MP I’d be lobbying Government for a National Care Service to work hand in hand with the NHS to provide dignity in old age and remove the existing postcode lottery. Older people in Northamptonshire that need extra support rely on care that is barely legal, and it’s likely to get worse unless the Government steps in.