SENIOR Pendle councillors have warned that the council’s finances are in a ‘catastrophic’ condition and that they are having to consider job cuts and adding fees to services to make ends meet.
The council have to save £1.2million this year, followed by £1m the year after and another £1m the year after that. Between 2010 and 2017, Pendle Council’s annual budget has been cut from £17.5m to £11m.
Leader Joe Cooney said that the council is having to consider all the options in which they could potentially make savings.
He said: “We’re talking to staff to see if they’d like to consider options including reducing their hours, taking voluntary redundancy or flexible retirement. We want to avoid any compulsory redundancies.”
Coun Cooney said that he could not confirm how many jobs were at risk but said redundancy is ‘an absolute last resort’.
But since 2010, staff levels have already gone down from 445 to 285.
He added: “We are considering the charges we make for services.
“Obviously, there are certain things we cannot charge for and that have to be done, but we are looking at every one of our services to see which we could use to generate income.”
A spokesperson for the council said that although as yet, no services have been identified of incurring charges but that services such as the ACE centre being run by a different body and the borough’s leisure services, which are subsidised by £2m a year, being transferred elsewhere or increasing charges.
The council said it was keen to point out that these are still possibilities at this stage.
Deputy council leader Tony Greaves said: “We are in a catastrophic position. Taking account of inflation, Pendle’s estimated annual budget for services is being slashed by half.
This is devastating and the shortfall cannot be covered by staff cuts and increases in council tax as the increase would be huge.
“We want to continue to provide the same level of services to our residents but this continued financial squeeze means that we’re again faced with taking some tough decisions.”
Coun Cooney is advising residents to get in touch with him with ideas for cost saving measures by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.