Blackburn political leaders clash over cuts to services

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Local government reporter

BLACKBURN with Darwen’s political leaders clashed last night over the service cuts proposed by the ruling Labour group after a £30million reduction in Whitehall grant.

Council leader Labour’s Kate Hollern blamed the coalition government for 500 job losses, the closure of children centres, scrapping school uniform grants and reducing library and swimming pool hours.

Tory leader Mike Lee accused her of failing to prepare properly for long-anticipated cuts in Westminster cash and axing the wrong services.

Liberal Democrat chief David Foster mocked Labour’s ruling executive board for “lack of imagination”.

Coun Hollern said: “This government is making councils the fall guy for its economic incompetence.

“It is forcing the council to cut valued services such as social care, cleansing libraries.

“Faced with a £30m cut, we had no option but to inform staff that yet again there would be job losses.

“To deliver such a message was heart-breaking.

“Ministers are turning strivers into people they call skivers; they are putting a further burden on vulnerable people who rely on services, whilst denying honest hardworking people the opportunity to work.

“These cuts are unfair; they hit the areas of most need.”

Coun Lee told her: “We start from a worse position due to the fact you failed to deal fully with the previous settlement and used reserves to fund continuing revenue spend. This must not happen again.

“We need to stop the funding for union representatives. We have suggested savings – close one of the swimming pools rather than cutting back hours, speed up the handover of community centres to the community, reduce the neighbourhood teams and remove private sector housing support. We need to ensure the £130million we have to spend is targeted at the needs of residents”

Coun Foster said: “The Labour group tell us they have been preparing for the cuts for a long time. It is disappointing to see a lack of imagination.

“Why have we not pushed the sharing of bureaucracy with some of our neighbouring authorities? Why have we not looked at reshaping our social services and delivering them through a social enterprise instead of cutting old people’s homes?”

Comments (9)

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2:49pm Fri 1 Feb 13

whitehallhero says...

Why are the wasting £90,000 on alley gates!!!!!!
Why are the wasting £90,000 on alley gates!!!!!! whitehallhero
  • Score: 0

3:33pm Fri 1 Feb 13

mavrick says...

The condems are panicking as there misery is set to land on the most needy and vulnerable in society. How these people have the shame to try and defend the indefensible is a guide to how out of touch they are. Why has there not been a backlash against the bedroom tax or are people to apathetic until it hits them? Wrap it up how you like the people with the least will end up paying the most.
The condems are panicking as there misery is set to land on the most needy and vulnerable in society. How these people have the shame to try and defend the indefensible is a guide to how out of touch they are. Why has there not been a backlash against the bedroom tax or are people to apathetic until it hits them? Wrap it up how you like the people with the least will end up paying the most. mavrick
  • Score: 0

4:07pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Mothernature says...

Whitehallhero, the money for the alley gates comes from a grant, not the borough council.
As for the waste of space councillors, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure they could have made savings from some of their little trips and award ceremonies and other wasteful fact finding missions they attend (at our expense). Better still, why don't they cut all the perks and allowances for themselves.
Whitehallhero, the money for the alley gates comes from a grant, not the borough council. As for the waste of space councillors, they ought to be ashamed of themselves. I'm sure they could have made savings from some of their little trips and award ceremonies and other wasteful fact finding missions they attend (at our expense). Better still, why don't they cut all the perks and allowances for themselves. Mothernature
  • Score: 0

4:08pm Fri 1 Feb 13

jack daniels says...

Why have we not pushed the sharing of bureaucracy with some of our neighbouring authorities?"

We could get rid of a few wind bags Liberal traitors for a start....
Why have we not pushed the sharing of bureaucracy with some of our neighbouring authorities?" We could get rid of a few wind bags Liberal traitors for a start.... jack daniels
  • Score: 0

4:41pm Fri 1 Feb 13

lostforwords says...

I think I'd be asking how much B&D spend on entertainment and other stuff like that also 'special' funds that never ever get spent or even see the light of day. How much capital reserves have they. The thing about rainy day money is knowing when it's raining.
I think I'd be asking how much B&D spend on entertainment and other stuff like that also 'special' funds that never ever get spent or even see the light of day. How much capital reserves have they. The thing about rainy day money is knowing when it's raining. lostforwords
  • Score: 0

10:45pm Fri 1 Feb 13

s_smith says...

lostforwords wrote:
I think I'd be asking how much B&D spend on entertainment and other stuff like that also 'special' funds that never ever get spent or even see the light of day. How much capital reserves have they. The thing about rainy day money is knowing when it's raining.
Then why dont you? The Local Government Finance Act allows you to and well as the Freedom of Information Act.

Put in a request and publish it online, rather than writing in the comments section.
[quote][p][bold]lostforwords[/bold] wrote: I think I'd be asking how much B&D spend on entertainment and other stuff like that also 'special' funds that never ever get spent or even see the light of day. How much capital reserves have they. The thing about rainy day money is knowing when it's raining.[/p][/quote]Then why dont you? The Local Government Finance Act allows you to and well as the Freedom of Information Act. Put in a request and publish it online, rather than writing in the comments section. s_smith
  • Score: 0

11:30pm Sat 2 Feb 13

Rimbus says...

Coun Hollern said: “This government is making councils the fall guy for its economic incompetence."
Surely the economic incompetence she refers to was implemented by Gordon Brown whilst he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and the last Labour government during their 13 years in power. "Soft Touch" regulation of the financial services industry instigated by Brown and Blair has left this country on the brink of bankruptcy and whilst the banking sector must share the responsibility, they were only allowed to get away with what they did because Brown significantly reduced the level of regulation imposed on them.
The financial restructuring and cost-savings currently being imposed is a direct result of the disastrous management of the economy by the last government. Liam Byrne's message left for his successor at the treasury saying 'I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left' says it all.
Coun Hollern said: “This government is making councils the fall guy for its economic incompetence." Surely the economic incompetence she refers to was implemented by Gordon Brown whilst he was Chancellor of the Exchequer and the last Labour government during their 13 years in power. "Soft Touch" regulation of the financial services industry instigated by Brown and Blair has left this country on the brink of bankruptcy and whilst the banking sector must share the responsibility, they were only allowed to get away with what they did because Brown significantly reduced the level of regulation imposed on them. The financial restructuring and cost-savings currently being imposed is a direct result of the disastrous management of the economy by the last government. Liam Byrne's message left for his successor at the treasury saying 'I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left' says it all. Rimbus
  • Score: 0

11:19am Sun 3 Feb 13

grunny says...

Mr Lee again no extra money is given to funding unions as the union officials are seconded from their roles in the council. Thought you would have known this being the ex leader of the council. If you suggesting that they lose their offices then it must apply to all the political parties as well.
Mr Lee again no extra money is given to funding unions as the union officials are seconded from their roles in the council. Thought you would have known this being the ex leader of the council. If you suggesting that they lose their offices then it must apply to all the political parties as well. grunny
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Sun 3 Feb 13

norah bhatty says...

Whoever is in control of the council during this difficult financial time, will have to take the flack every time cuts are made, but would any of us take on the job?

Might have a lot of perks, might command a good salary, but still not enough to make me want to take over.

Labour blame the previous regime and visa versa, but does anyone not think of challenging 'he that must be obeyed?' David Cameron, he that wants to be seen in every place of any importance and he making our people poorer whilst sending huge amounts overseas. If anyone should go, it should be him and sooner rather than later I hope.
Whoever is in control of the council during this difficult financial time, will have to take the flack every time cuts are made, but would any of us take on the job? Might have a lot of perks, might command a good salary, but still not enough to make me want to take over. Labour blame the previous regime and visa versa, but does anyone not think of challenging 'he that must be obeyed?' David Cameron, he that wants to be seen in every place of any importance and he making our people poorer whilst sending huge amounts overseas. If anyone should go, it should be him and sooner rather than later I hope. norah bhatty
  • Score: 0

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