Northamptonshire could cease all voluntary sector funding

The county council, due to ratify £9.9m of cuts, has no specific voluntary sector fund, but charities are likely to bear the brunt of cuts to two budgets totalling £700,000

Northamptonshire County Council
Northamptonshire County Council

Northamptonshire County Council is set to stop funding voluntary sector organisations as part of £9.9m cuts due to be ratified today.

The Conservative-run council, which is close to bankruptcy, does not have a specific voluntary sector fund, but charities are likely to bear the brunt of cuts to two budgets totalling about £700,000 a year.

Last week, the auditing company KPMG issued a section 114 notice warning that the authority could not meet its spending forecasts, which prompted councillors to review expenditure on all services except safeguarding vulnerable people, which it has a statutory duty to fulfil.

As part of this, the council will save £300,000 from its wellbeing and financial services budget over the next two years, mainly by the early cessation of its infrastructure contract with Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire.

Nobody at Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire was available for comment this morning, but the charity's annual report for the year ending 31 March 2017 indicated it received £354,000 of its £738,000 income for countywide support and development.

The local authority will also end grants and contracts to charities that provide services to people who are deaf, blind or have mental health issues as part of £400,000 cuts in adult services.

A full council meeting to discuss the cuts, which include closing 21 of the county's 36 libraries, is being held today.

Robin Brown, cabinet member for finance, said in a statement: "Northamptonshire is at the leading edge of a financial challenge, the severity of which local government has never seen before.

"It is a challenge all top-tier authorities will face, but Northamptonshire has reached crisis point now.

"We have tried to minimise the impact on the most vulnerable in our communities."

A council spokesman said: "We have had no choice but to make the difficult decision to review funding of all non-statutory services, including payments to voluntary groups and organisations."

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