We are all the poorer because of Government austerity measures that have seen billions taken out of Local Government funding. The Local Government Association tells us that the funding gap is now £8 billion. This is the money councils need to provide good childrens services, adult care, pothole free roads. We pay our taxes and we need our services. Tory Governments have always undervalued Local Government but this feels vengeful as if they want our councils to fail. Its all part of their campaign to shrink the state. Shrink the state. Shrink services. Leave our children and older frail people vulnerable.
This has been compounded in Northamptonshire by seriously flawed financial management. We had the highest number of overpaid consultants-23 earning over £100,000 a year. We had and have, the lowest Council tax in the country. A topsy-turvy world where the rich get richer and the poor poorer. Inequalities have increased across the county, shown in differential life expectancy rates from Brackley to Corby.
In the county we have 47,000 children living in poverty. We have 1093 children in care. We are struggling to allocate adult social care cases because of a shortage of social workers. We are struggling to make social care assessments in a timely fashion. Staff are under the most enormous pressure. Morale is low. Many are being driven towards the exit door. It is a national disgrace.
The county has to save between £60m -£70 million between now and April 6th next year. This is going to severely impact on our communities. And yet. And yet. The very people who have created this disaster are still in power, nationally and locally.
The reorganisation of local government will see the abolition of the 8 authorities in the county. They will be replaced by two unitary authorities if the Government gets its way. But the debt will remain. The funding gap will remain. The demographics of the unitaries proposed means the Tories are likely to still be in power. Everything will change and nothing will change.