Gordon Birtwistle’s latest attempt to cause alarm among the residents of Burnley, and council staff in particular, is to pedal the myth the Labour Council is about to decimate local services through their change programme. Nothing could be further from the truth.
He says as an alternative we can get the savings we need by cutting a top-heavy management structure. Let me inform him the council has already done that. Almost £0.5m. cut to date, a reduction of almost 35% in senior management costs taken out.
He says we should talk to staff about efficiency improvements. The council has done that as well. £7m. of savings representing a reduction in net spending to date of 30%.
If there were easy options left to achieve a further £3m. of savings we would be choosing them.
Gordon Birtwistle has no answers to the council’s financial problems. He didn’t when he was leading the council when spending increased year on year and he definitely doesn’t now.
The council’s proposed change programme is the means to maintain front line services at an affordable cost to residents. We have to find a way to get more from the money residents pay through their Council Tax as Government grants shrink. This requires a radical approach and strong leadership to see it through.
In stark contrast to the previous Lib Dem administration, the Labour Council I am proud to lead has three things going for it. It has a plan, it has a talented team to deliver that plan and it has the will to see the job through.
The Labour Council will continue to provide strong financial management but there will be no decimation of services.
Coun. Mark Townsend
Burnley Council Leader