Burnley Council faces more tough decisions to meet Budget cuts

Burnley Town Hall
Burnley Town Hall

Leading councillors have been debating the extent of budget savings Burnley Council must make over the next financial year.

The council is preparing for further cuts in the light of the Government’s austerity programme, and identifying savings and efficiencies to balance the budget and protect essential services.

A report to the council’s Executive Committee reveals the council faces finding savings of £2.3m. in 2015/16.

Around £1.5m. of savings have already been identified, with a further £500,000 planned to be used from the reserve fund, which has been built up to help during financially tough times.

The council has launched a Change Programme which will shape the authority in years to come.

It includes stream-lining the council’s management structure, potentially outsourcing some services to private contractors, job losses and changes to the way some services are delivered.

The result will be a smaller council than at present, focusing even more on the top priority services such as boosting the local economy and keeping our streets clean and safe.

“The council, in response to the Government austerity programme, is preparing for significant changes,” said director of resources Helen Seechurn.

“The scale of the challenge requires radical transformation and reconfiguration of council services and a strategic reassessment of priorities. To respond to such a challenge, careful planning, consultation and implementation are required.”

Council leader Mark Townsend said: “Yet again the council needs to find unprecedented savings to remain financially sustainable while, at the same time, protecting and continuing to provide high quality services to its residents.

“We have some very tough decisions to make in the light of continuing Government austerity cuts to the amount of money it gives us. We’re being put in a very difficult position by the Government and there is still work to do to close the budget gap.

“We plan our budgets well in advance so we are well prepared for what is to come.

“We have to look at every pound we spend across the council and plan for the future, putting into place measures that will mitigate, as much as possible, the effect these massive budget cuts will have.”