The Borough faces a two year period of great uncertainty. We will be subject to an imposed Local Government reorganisation with central government and the County Tory MPs calling the shots. This is what has happened so far:
The Conservative Government created a two tier system of Local Government and imposed a County Council for Northamptonshire. Prior to this Northampton was a County Borough (i.e. a Unitary Authority) and ran its own services including social care and schools. There was a fight back against this over the years, but it was not supported, even by County Labour Councillors
Motion calling for a Unitary Northampton taken to Borough Council by Labour and amended by the Tory administration was passed with cross party support.
Inspector sent in to the County
Inspector Reports the County is bankrupt and guilty of financial mismanagement.
Secretary of State statement to abolish the county, reorganise Local government in Northamptonshire, send in commissioners for Governance and for Finance.
Letter signed by leaders of all the Council parties to Secretary of State calling for a Unitary Northampton.
Special Council Meeting called by all the political parties with a joint motion calling for an information and awareness campaign to engage all residents in support of a unitary Northampton.
Meeting with Civil Service. Districts and Boroughs were told the Government:-
Wants One Proposal for reorganisation
Will not agree to changed boundaries
Insists that reorganisation would be on the basis of no less than 300,000 head of population
Will not provide more money
Has ruled the County debt will be carried by the reconfigured authorities
All the Districts and Boroughs agreed one, joint proposal to government with two unitaries- West Northants and North Northants. PWC commissioned to write proposal. To be consulted on using focus groups by deadline date of end of August.
County Labour Leaders and PPCs meet Secretary of State for communities. Andrew Gwynne MP acknowledged Northampton’s position but commented he thought Government is unlikely to budge.
Tory administration argued against and voted against its own motion. Labour puts up a vigorous and well-argued case for Unitary Northampton. Vote was 18/22 against.
Tory administration to bring a paper to Council reversing Borough policy on Unitary for Northampton.The CLP has posted a petition. Please use the link here. https://www.change.org/p/fight-for-northampton-we- need-our –own-council
In the meantime the Sixfields saga rumbles on with no conclusion. The budget for 2016/17 has not yet been signed off. Tory incompetence piled on Tory incompetence.