Tomorrow sees an historic reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire with the County Council and District Councils being replaced with two new councils, West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire.
Cllr Chris Lofts, who worked for 35 years in local government followed by 12 years as a Liberal Democrat councillor, spoke to BBC Northampton this afternoon and was asked what the future might hold. His biggest fear that while the councils might be new, Northamptonshire’s problems haven’t changed and people are suffering from chronically underfunded services. “The role of a council isn’t to be a business,” said Chris Lofts. “It is there to provide a service and most of all, look after the vulnerable.”
The new councils have been created without additional government funding and it could be just an exercise in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Chris Lofts told BBC Northampton. “Some of the same people, people who failed in the old council may be involved in the new councils.” [This is of course depending on what voters say in the upcoming elections on May 6th and whether voters are prepared to elect councillors who have failed the people of Northamptonshire through financial mismanagement and inadequate services.]
Chris Lofts has come to the end of his time in local government to dedicate his energies in helping charities in Northamptonshire. Reflecting on his time as a councillor, the biggest highlights were being able to help people and stand up for the vulnerable. “Local government can be complicated to navigate. The best thing about being a councillor is being able to help people, who sometimes can’t speak for themselves, get the support they need.”