Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Commissioners and a police inquiry? Just another day in Northamptonshire politics

On Tuesday evening the Guardian reported that the government is going to send in commissioners to run Northamptonshire Country Council.

The Conservative-run authority issued a section 114 notice at the start of February. This imposed financial controls and banned expenditure on all services except those with statutory safeguarding obligations.

Northamptonshire was the first council to issue such a notice in two decades, but it won't be the last.

The Guardian says the National Audit Office has suggested that up to 15 other councils could follow suit in the next three years.

No doubt mismanagement by the Conservative cabinet played a part, but authorities are having to cope with a rising demand for social care and a 50 per cent cut in central government grants since the Coalition was formed in 2010.

Today came news that David Mackintosh, former Conservative MP for Northampton South and former leader of Northampton Borough Council, was interviewed by police under caution.

The inquiry concerns a £10m loan made by the council to Northampton Town Football Club. As the BBC report says, the funds have "seemingly vanished, leaving an unfinished stand".

There have also been questions about the funding of Mackintosh's campaign when he was elected to parliament at the 2015 general election.

He was obliged to stand down when in became clear that the members of his constituency party did not want him as their candidate in the 2017 election.

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