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Cost of new councils for Northamptonshire soars by £11m

The cost of creating two new councils for Northamptonshire has risen by £11m, despite the new authorities being a scaled back version of what was planned.

Figures now predict the cost of setting up two unitary authorites to replace the 'county and district council' structure by April 2021 will be £55.8m rather than the £44m originally planned.

A masterplan document outlining new details says, following the Covid-19 outbreak: “There is now considerable financial risk emerging, that will not be fully understood for some time yet although early assessments have been made."

Northamptonshire County Council
Northamptonshire County Council

Elections due to be held this month were cancelled due to Covid-19.

Coun Chris Stanbra, leader of the Liberal Democrats group at Northamptonshire County Council, says the situation was ‘all a bit worrying’ and that 'we are having to pay £11m more to get less'.

“I have sympathy for the officers trying to deliver this, as they appear to be stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he added.

It is not known how much impact the pandemic will have on the finances of the eight councils that are being wound down to create the two new unitaries.

Due to years of government funding cuts to local authorities, and in some cases poor financial management, none of the authorities are carrying huge reserves.

To deal with the crisis, central government has handed out million pound cashpots to every local authority in the country but many are saying the funding has not been enough and are warning they will need additional cash to keep afloat.

Northamptonshire County Council has already outlined that it may have a financial blackhole of up to £27m due to the pandemic costs.

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