Cash-strapped Burnley Council will soon have to find another £800,000 of savings after Lancashire County Council pulled the plug on a vital waste and recycling subsidy.
The cash grant, which the county council has given to all district authorities for a number of years, will end next year, ensuring that Burnley Council chiefs will again have to find savings from its increasingly tight budget.
The cost-sharing agreement was originally made to boost recycling across Lancashire, but the county council’s own financial pressures means the end of subsidies from next year.
County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Cost sharing was an additional subsidy given to district councils in the early days of recycling when they did not have an obligation to provide doorstep collections but we all wanted to encourage more recycling. We agreed to help them by sharing the cost of bringing in the new collection systems.
“The agreements, under which the county council still pays around £10m. a year to district councils, were originally made for 10 years.
“They were then extended for a further four years in 2014, at which point we made it clear to district councils that they needed to start planning their finances for when the subsidy ends in 2018.
“Many things have changed over the last 14 years, not least of which that district councils now have a statutory duty to provide recycling collections.
“On this basis, and with significant pressure on the county council’s finances, we simply cannot continue to subsidise services that other councils are already duty-bound to provide.
“The district councils were informed four years ago that the cost-sharing agreements would come to an end in 2018.”
Burnley Council chiefs said they they have planning for the eventuality, and this will be discussed when the Executive Committee meets later this month.
A Burnley Council spokesman said: “We’ve been aware of this for some years and it has been built into our wider forward-planning budget programme. A report on the council’s medium term financial strategy will be going to the Executive.”
That report sets out a cost to the council of £800,000 in its 2018/19 budget.