More money is needed for vulnerable children in West Northants warn Liberal Democrats


The Liberal Democrats are proposing some key amendments to this year’s budget which will be determined by West Northamptonshire Council this week Service investment proposal equates to £1.7 million which is, in effect, a drop in the ocean to make real service improvements.

Sally Beardsworth, Group leader of the Liberal Democrats at West Northants Council says:

“The Conservatives will do their best to keep talking about a fresh start and moving on, but we simply have to remember that the council finds itself in this position due to the historic, catastrophic failure of Northamptonshire Country Council on the Conservatives’ watch. What’s more, we are seeing on a national level, shameful waste with £4.7 billion in bad loans being written off, £9 billion wasted on poor PPE acquisition deals and £37 billion on a track and trace system which cost more than 30 times that of Germany’s. Imagine the benefits that money like this could do if it was to cascade down to councils.”

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Liberal Democrats are calling for further investment in several priority areas including children’s services, climate change initiatives, investment in training and education to prevent violence against women and girls, as well as fixing the costs of country park parking fees.

 

Children’s services:

“We are proposing a further £300,000 investment in Children’s services,” says Cllr Rosie Humphreys, Liberal Democrat member for Braunston and Crick. “Northamptonshire as a whole rates as the second highest spend amongst a comparison group, in essence because our county has more children being taken into care. This has a direct impact on children’s life chances as well as costing tax payers more money in the long run. It is far more important to invest in intervention and prevention before we get to the stage of needing to take children into care.”

Climate change:

“The council redeclared a climate emergency last July and finally committed to make the UK 100 Net Zero pledge in December,” says Cllr Jonathan Harris, Ward member for Brixworth, “and yet there is no substantial investment in the climate emergency let alone any action plan. We are proposing an investment of £900,000 and some restructuring at the Council to really kick-start activity in this area. It’s a nonsense to call it an emergency, include it in the corporate plan as the number one issue and then spend little to nothing on it.”

 The Liberal Democrats also warned that residents are being unfairly squeezed by council tax rises at the same time as the National Insurance hike:

“The average council tax rise of 2.99% masks the reality for residents living in both Daventry and South Northamptonshire areas where the actual rise will be higher due to the harmonisation process which is being carried out over three years. We will all also see the impact of National Insurance rises in April and we’re being told that this is to pay for social care but we’re already paying more for social care through our council taxes. It is effectively a double whammy.” says Lisa Samiotis, Ward Councillor for Towcester and Roade.


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