Tough times ahead as Burnley Council sets out savings target

Burnley Council has published its latest savings proposals as it looks to balance the books amidst continued financial challenges.

By John Deehan
Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 11:00 am
Burnley Council is projecting that it will need to save 3.71 million over the next three financial years
Burnley Council is projecting that it will need to save 3.71 million over the next three financial years

A report by the council’s head of finance and property services, Asad Mushtaq, to the council’s Executive committee sets out the current financial position and how councillors can keep finances in line during the next three years.

The council has already earmarked £277,000 in savings to help balance the next two years’ budgets.

Further proposed savings of £242,000 will be considered by the Executive when it meets on Tuesday.

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The council has an annual net revenue budget of £15.82 million and it is projecting that it will need to save £3.71 million over the next three financial years (equivalent to 23% of the current budget).

The report highlights that the council has made savings totalling just over £16 million since 2010 due to cuts in Government funding.

Savings of £36,000 are proposed by not filling vacant posts but there are no proposals to make any staff redundant. The council’s workforce has reduced from more than 600 in 2010 to just over 200.

The council is drawing up its budget in the face of continued uncertainty over future Government funding.

Coun. Margaret Lishman, the council’s executive member for resources and performance management, said: “When setting our budget we need to consider a whole range of issues, nationally, regionally and locally.

"But at the heart of balancing the books is a commitment to bringing forward a savings plan that is aligned to our strategic plan and which ensures we continue to deliver high quality services to our residents.

“Last month the Government announced that the multi-year Spending Review was to be replaced with a shorter one-year Spending Round for 2020/21 only. Earlier this month it announced the result of that Spending Round. We await from Government details of what this means for Burnley’s allocation for 2020/21.

“However, there remains significant uncertainty beyond next year. As a result, we have assumed in our medium-term financial strategy, that we will receive the same level of funding next year as we did in the current year.

“Whilst this appears to be the most likely outcome, a further update will be reported in February once the council formally receives its funding allocation in December.”