Arthur's Blog

The Administration keeps saying the local economy is booming.

 My view is we need to address the facts.

  • Many local jobs depend on retail
  • Retail is shrinking- we have had the closures in town of the Coop, the House of Fraser, Monsoon, BHS, Oliver Adams.  In Kingsley a Co-op branch is closing, Debenhams is closing some of its warehousing.
  • It’s not just the shops and shoppers that are affected- it is all the allied trades- shop fitters, suppliers, drivers
  • Some retailers are being forced out of business by other factors- e.g. huge growth in shop lifting. Peppertrees is the latest to report how this is affecting their bottom line.
  • All of this is leading to great instability in the work force and  a loss of revenue to us through loss of rents and  business rates

It is no good the administration telling us meeting after the meeting that the local economy is doing well.  It isn’t.

 We need a proper examination of exactly what is going on with jobs in this town.

  1. How many jobs are part time, irregular, zero hours?
  2. How many of the work force, what percentage, are employed but under employed?
  3. What is the gender gap in employment and pay in this town?
  4. What is the mean; what is the average income of our residents?
  5. 5.  What are the high end salaries and what percentage of the work force get that?  What are the low end salaries and what percent are on that?
  6. What measures do we have in place to support workers being made redundant? (benefit advice, CV support, Job clubs, Training etc)?
    It is about time we took the retail crisis and the  jobs crisis in our  town seriously.

We need an all-party working group taking a hard look at our local economy.   We need to campaign for                        More and better jobs. More growth. More sustainable development.

 It needs to fit with our vision of a unitary authority.

We  need to develop a vision for our town centre and our other retail centres. We need them to become more dynamic and less reliant on traditional shopping. Culture, leisure and services may be the way forward.

We cannot continue as a low wage economy where people work hard for poverty wages and then have no disposable income to spend in the town.

 We need to be realistic about the future.We need to be the ones who shape that future. Please.

Take my suggestion. Let us set up a Local Economy all party working group.

We need to address job losses in Northampton

The Administration keeps saying the local economy is booming.  My view is we need to address the facts. Many local jobs depend on retail Retail is shrinking- we have had...

In our alternative budget we set out our vision over the next four years or so. We make changes in this next year but we are also clear about the kind of changes we want to see over the next five years. The Labour Group shows it can plan for the future.

For instance, it is our aspiration to introduce a hopper bus service for the major points in Northampton such as between the town centre, hospital, university and the college. There would be a reduced bus rate for those under 16 years. We can explore doing this jointly with Stage Coach, the University of Northampton and also get some kind of external sponsorship for them. A hopper service would also reduce car traffic and this means less air pollution.  

 This Council has faced a spending squeeze in the last few years with cuts from central government.  This Council foolishly froze council tax year on year. We can expect further cuts from central government in the coming years. Therefore we urgently need to develop additional incomes streams and we think this could be done with the land we have at Westbridge Depot and Sixfields. Why not?

 Finally, on behalf of the Labour Group, we would like to thank the finance team for their work and support.

Our vision

In our alternative budget we set out our vision over the next four years or so. We make changes in this next year but we are also clear about the...

As a long serving councillor I am a passionate supporter of unitary status for Northampton.

The current two tier set up is no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the Borough Council does waste collection but the County Council is responsible for waste disposal. The Borough Council does licensing but the County Council does trading standards. The Borough Council does planning but the County Council does development control.

A unitary council is a far superior model of local government than what we have at present. Having all services under one roof and a single chain of command makes sense. It allows for services to be truly “joined up”.   Have a unitary council will save tax payers money but it will also be a lot more effective. At the Guildhall on last Monday evening it was pleasing to see all political groups giving their unanimous support for a unitary council in Northampton.

The other issue is the current boundaries of the town. They need tidying up. Since the boundaries were last drawn up in the early 1970s things have undoubtedly changed. The borough boundary for Northampton needs to be expanded to take up developments like Buckton Fields, Grange Park and St. Georges Fields on Newport Pagnell Road. There is much planned future housing development immediately on our doorstep (known as Sustainable Urban Extensions) and this must be incorporate within the Borough.

Lastly, we are opposed to having a directly elected Mayor for Northampton.  We want to keep the Cabinet and Scrutiny system.

Cllr Arthur McCutcheon is a Labour Councillor on Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire County Council and former Mayor.

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We need unitary status for Northampton

As a long serving councillor I am a passionate supporter of unitary status for Northampton. The current two tier set up is no longer fit for purpose. For instance, the...

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