The Tories who run the Cabinet of Northants Council County have been condemned — by local Tory MPs and Tory council backbenchers — as the “worst-run local authority in the country”, “not up to the job”. The condemnation came in response to the imposition of a section 114 notice on the council, which means that no new expenditure is permitted, “with the exception of safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services” (sic).
The notice comes as the council appears not to be able to set a balanced budget despite already imposing millions of pounds of cuts in recent years. Of course, the local Tories’ condemnation is laughable. These are the same people who for years have consistently supported savage cuts by central and local government. They are shameless hypocrites who don’t give a damn about working-class people, but now are concerned about distancing themselves from the mess the council is in.
Local anti-cuts activists in Save Northants Services are organising a protest in Northampton town centre from 12 noon on Saturday 17 February. Councillors have 21 days to discuss the implications of the section 114 notice and this is due to be addressed at the Full Council meeting on 22 February. Tory MPs have called for government commissioners to take control, something unfortunately echoed by recently-elected Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in Northants.
An emergency motion has been submitted to Northampton Labour Party which meets on Thursday 15 February. The motion has the following demands: All Tory County Councillors to resign as they are all responsible for this debacle; The restoration of funding to a level which enables the County Council to provide services on the basis of what is necessary and desirable; An end to austerity and PFI; To prepare to put to the people of Northants an alternative that will safeguard all jobs and services, based on what is necessary and desirable rather than based on the artificial constraints of austerity politics. To support and mobilise for the protest in Northampton on Saturday 17 February, organised by Save Northants Services.