William Eichler 21 May 2018

Northamptonshire CC faces £16m bill for spending ring-fenced cash

An investigation into the finances of Northamptonshire County Council has revealed it is facing a £16m grant bill over its use of ring-fenced public health money.

The crisis-hit county council has been under investigation over claims it spent money that had been ring-fenced for public health services on other services.

Northamptonshire received more than £70m in funding from Public Health England over a two-year period - money that was ear-marked for health services.

The former council leader Heather Smith, however, admitted in a BBC interview earlier this year that the cash ‘may have been spent in adult social care.’

According to the auditors KPMG, the council may now have to repay £16m - this is 60% more than was originally suspected.

A Northamptonshire County Council spokesman said: ‘We are continuing to have open and transparent discussions with Public Health England (PHE) East Midlands about the Statement of Assurance for the years 2015-16 and 2016-17 around how public health grant was used within public services in Northamptonshire.

‘We have been working closely with Public Health England East Midlands providing all required evidence. All of the issues of compliance have been checked in detail and we await the final outcome of the review.’

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