I know, I fully understand that the county council has to make some cut backs, to save money. I spoke to one of their representatives yesterday, a man from the transport department. He told me that certain cost cutting has been put in place already, cost cutting that, coincidentally will have a disproportionate impact on the least well off but that, other cuts, cuts which will effect the better off are ‘under review’ These are such things as cutting high up management, reducing the huge cost of salary to the ever increasing list of management they have.
Here are some proposals and facts which the NCC has planned:
Free school transport scrapped for the over 16’s and replaced with a 50% reduction. This is an increase in costs to the least well off of £160 each year. In the pipeline is the same thing to SEN pupils which was brought in but later put on hold (deferred) as a result of complaints from the public. The spokesman said that they shall have another meeting after a consultation period where they shall decide whether or not to cut subsidy totally after Christmas adding a further £120 to the cost for the least well off for each child they have in further education.
People who pay for social care services from Northamptonshire County Council could soon see a 15 per cent rise in their bills under plans being considered by County Hall. This means things such as home helps and paid Caring in the home. These services are already paid in part by the vulnerable, this is a proposed 15% increase on the costs they already have. Note, the benefits these people get has been frozen for 2 years by this government!
On the plus side, if we should see it this way … The council has also revealed an investment programme that includes £100,000 on a feasibility study for a county children’s hospice, (not the building of one, just a group of people deciding whether we have enough terminally ill children to justify it – we do), £150,000 for an Olympic keep-fit programme (Because, we obviously need that as running on pavements is clearly not an option), and £300,000 to develop a heritage education centre at Chester Farm. (We so HAVE to preserve our heritage. We can’t preserve our current population and their needs but, we SHOULD spend £300,000 on the past)
The NCC has announced pay cuts and pay freezes across the board BUT, only on those earning up to £45,000. The ages of senior managers will NOT be affected …. no major shock there then.
Support for Carers was hit earlier this year when services such as Advocacy was tendered out to a group in Bedfordshire. Although the services within Northamptonshire have stopped, the Bedfordshire CIL have not taken up their responsibility months after they started to receive NCC funds for so doing
This is just a summary of what I have found out so far.
It seems to me that the jobs for the boys of NCC are safe, that the better off are no worse off and that the least well off and vulnerable are footing the bill of years of NCC overspend on stuff that, frankly, no one needed.
The NCC spokesman said that we needed to start taking care of our own responsibilities. That NCC were targeting services for which they had no legal obligation. They advise college students to get a job to fund their transport … no doubt, the SEN kids will have to do the same when their transport is cut in January!
With a 3%+ rise in Council Tax bills, above inflation, what else is going to happen to the people of this county on top of the cuts in services and increases in costs applied by central government? Good job we don’t have chimneys any more else there would be at least one profession being brought back!