Council tax rise for residents

Burnley Town Hall.
Burnley Town Hall.
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Burnley’s share of the Council tax for the next year has been raised by 1.9% in a budget that ensures “strong foundations for the future”.

It was an unsurprising hike in the face of deep government cuts as the council struggled to slash its budget by £1.6m.

It means that tax for Band D properties will go up by just over £5 a year to £277.76 while those in Band A properties can expect to pay an extra £3.50.

Increases from other sectors such as Lancashire County Council and the police can also be expected.

Outlining the budget at a meeting of Burnley’s Full Council, Coun. Wajid Khan, Executive member for Resources and Performance Management said the government cuts were noting short of a scandal and the 23% reduction in funding had left the council fighting a “disproportionate and unfair” battle.

“The government announced in its final settlement a further £300m. of transitional funds for local authorities. But there is no surprise that 83% of the fund will go to Tory run councils, mostly in the Southern shires

“The five most deprived councils in the country (all being in the North) will receive nothing from this grant whereas the five least deprived will collectively receive £5.3 million. They talk about the Northern Powerhouse, but their actions are creating a Northern Poorhouse.

“We have cut £11.5m. in real terms from the net revenue budget since 2010 and have to face making another £4m. of cuts over the next three years.”

He said raising the Council Tax was unavoidable if they were to protect services for generations to come.

It was not all doom and gloom, with the council setting aside £55,000 from this year’s budget for the Primary Engineer initiative, which aims to deliver engineering based learning and other skills development across all primary and secondary schools within the borough during the next three years.

Coun. Khan said: “We want to invest money in the future of Burnley. By supporting this initiative, we want to empower young people across schools in Burnley to develop and realise their potential and build a prosperous future for themselves.

“As a council we want to invest in skills that will make a positive impact in the lives of young people.”

He said that while he took no pleasure in handling a budget hampered by savage government cuts, it did build on foundations laid last year and continued the council on course for financial survival.

He added: “Burnley Council is not only fighting back, we are showing great resilience to these cuts. People are sitting up and taking notice of our achievements. Confidence is growing in Burnley’s future. We are not just open for business – we are already doing lots of business.”