Burnley Council hits out at ‘Scrooge’ Government

Coun. Mark Townsend
Coun. Mark Townsend

The leader of Burnley Borough Council has accused the Coalition Government of being “Scrooge-like”.

Labour’s Coun. Mark Townsend was speaking after the government announced its Local Government Financial Settlement for 2015/16.

In the next financial year, Burnley faces an overall reduction in government grant of 13% as compared to this year.

Coun. Townsend said: “The Government is taking 
a Scrooge-type approach and it is far from fair for 
the people of Burnley, which has seen a 53% cut in Government funding since 2010.

“When you think about the deprivation in this part of the country compared to say Surrey it’s obvious there needs to be a fairer and more balanced approach. We need a fairer funding model for East Lancashire. We have managed cuts in Burnley for years. This year will be no different: we will get on with it again in terms of managing these cuts.”

The funding will form the basis of next year’s council budget, which will be set in February.

Burnley Council faces finding £2.3m. of savings in the budget. It has already identified £1.5m. of savings and a further £500,000 will be transferred from reserves. Work continues to identify 
the remaining £300,000.

Coun. Townsend added: “As always, we’ve been hoping for the best but planning for the worst and, as usual, we will get through this - but you can’t underestimate the seriousness of the situation we’re facing.

“Although we always try and minimise the impact of the cuts, people will start to see a direct impact on services.

“This is going to continue for years to come, so we have to start working more radically to get the best value we possibly can and sustain services. We’ve got to the end of the road in terms of so-called salami slicing of budgets and over the next 12 months we are going to be taking a more radical approach.”