HYNDBURN Council has been given the second half of a £2.5 million windfall for its work in cutting costs.

Last month the now housing and planning minister, Brandon Lewis, told the council it would be given a £1.27 million efficiency support grant (ESG), after the council cut its spending by more than 20 per cent since 2009.

It also axed 20.4 per cent of its workforce, while at the same time freezing council tax rates.

The money has been welcomed by local leaders, who spoke of their hope that the cash would become part of the government’s annual funding.

Conservative councillor Tony Dobson said: “This is good news, but there is much more to play for. In the autumn, we will have a further assessment undertaken by officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government and, providing we can satisfy them that we are continuing to deliver our efficiency programme strongly, it is likely the funding will be rolled into the Local Government Settlement.

“Put simply, this would mean an extra £1.272 million every year that we have not included in our financial forecasts.”

Opposition leader Peter Britcliffe said he also ‘welcomed’ the news.

Hyndburn Labour MP Graham Jones said he would continue to fight for the money to become an annual payment.