The tory-run Northamptonshire county council is facing a financial crisis, as it cannot balance its budget nor set a legal budget for next year. This is partly due to chronic financial mismanagement, frozen rates of council tax, and a plan for the outsourcing of almost all services. Now the council needs £70 million over the next few months to balance its books. Consequently, services for vulnerable children and adults will no longer be protected and be reduced to the bare minimum. Local and non-core services will also be shrunk or closed. This is in addition to services that have already been slashed, such as buses and libraries, which have instigated court challenges. Behavioural change within the local communities will need to be encouraged to create resilience in places where the council can no longer help.
Other councils are also believed to be at risk as they struggle with increasing demands and decreasing budgets, demonstrating a heightened pressure on the government to intervene in local government funding. This is because although Northamptonshire's approach is partly to blame for its situation, the years of tory austerity will have led to £16 billion being cut from council budgets nationwide by 2020. This pushes numerous other councils closer to Northamptonshire's crisis, because with the plummeting funding, the demand for social care and protection increases due to earlier cuts in (cheaper) preventative services.
The central government needs to focus on supporting these councils, but barriers to improving this situation are looming, such as the NHS being prioritized, further cuts being planned, and a transfixion on Brexit (which may only result in increasing costs of social care services). Nonetheless, it is apparent tory austerity needs to end due to the damage it has already done. Additionally, long-term solutions, such as fairer replacements for council tax, need to be created to salvage the crisis councils like Northamptonshire are finding themselves in. Most importantly, community services need to continue to be provided for people, especially those most vulnerable and at-risk, to prevent both inequalities and costs from increasing further.