Burnley and Pendle hit with savage local government funding cuts

BURNLEY and Pendle face Whitehall grant cuts next year of almost 10 per cent, the highest in England.

And they have been warned there is worse to come if they miss Government targets to increase efficiency.

They and Hyndburn will see a reduction in central government support of at least 8.8 per cent – more than £1million – affecting services across the board.

If they fail to meet Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles targets in reducing staff and outsourcing “back office” services, Burnley will see that reduction double to £3.5 million - 17.8 per cent.

In Pendle’s case the cuts will rise to 14 per cent if they fail the government’s efficiency test.

Burnley council leader Julie Cooper described the proposed cuts as “an outrageous betrayal” of the town’s people while Labour opposition leader on Pendle Mohammed Iqbal said the grant reduction was “absolutely ludicrous”.

The two borough’s coalition government MPs Gordon Birtwistle and Andrew Stephenson defended the totals announced last night and said the council’s could meet the efficiency targets to secure the extra grant, adding they had won for them in a series of key meetings with Mr Pickles.

Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn are among only six councils in England facing the maximum budget cut who are required to meet conditions for the extra Efficiency Support Grant worth £1.2 million to Hyndburn, £1.7 million to Burnley and £950,000 to Pendle.

Other East Lancashire councils face smaller cuts with Blackburn with Darwen’s matching the national average of 1.7 per cent and Ribble Valley just 1.3 per cent.

Coun Cooper said: “We’re still looking at the detail of the Government’s announcement earlier today. What is already clear is that Burnley is likely to face the biggest cut in spending power of around 8.8 per cent, and that relies on a further Government assessment.

“This suggests that the cuts we face may actually be higher than the Secretary of State promised and could be as high as 20 per cent. It is another outrageous betrayal of the people of Burnley. We will be doing our upmost to get the Government to reconsider and give us a fairer settlement.”

Coun Iqbal said: “This is absolutely ludicrous - it is a nail in the coffin of Pendle Council.

“It is quite clear that our MP and the Tory council here have no clout with their government. It will be impossible for a borough like Pendle to find these cuts.”

Coun Joe Cooney, Conservative leader of Pendle Council, said: “It has not as bad as it could have been - it seems that the lobbying by myself and our MP Andrew Stephenson has worked. We expected that there would be some reduction in grant and we are aware everyone has to do their bit. “ Burnley will get a spending power of £16.34 million in 2012/2013 with the extra cash - worth £448 per household bring total spending levels per home with the Lancashire County Council’s budget up to £2,202 compared to a national average of £2,240.

Pendle gets a spending limit of £15.68 million, £419 per household topped up by Lancashire county to £2,172. Rossendale’s total limit is £10.63 million - £344 per household with a total of £2,097 including the county council cash.

Neighbouring Blackburn with Darwen’s all purpose authority gets a total spending power of £151.46 million, £2,628 per household.

Burnley Liberal Democrat MP Mr Birtwistle said: “We can make these efficiency savings to get the extra grant we secured in meetings with Mr Pickles and his team. This is the result of the government trying to balance the shambles the Labour government left us where big Labour unitary authorities like Blackburn with Darwen got extra cash at there expense of smaller neighbours like Burnley and Pendle.”

Pendle Tory Mr Stephenson said: “We made the case for the extra efficiency grant to ministers and got it. Pendle is already good at this type of thing and I am confident it will meet the targets which is good for the council and the borough.”

Gill Kilpatrick, Treasurer at Lancashire County Council which got a 2.2 per cent cut, said:”We continue to be in a very challenging position but it is one we have planned for.”

Comments (12)

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10:30am Thu 20 Dec 12

A Darener says...

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme. A Darener

11:29am Thu 20 Dec 12

Izanears says...

What annoys a lot of people when the government makes cuts in the money it gives to councils, is the millions it orrows to give in foreign aid. Surely this money should be spent here not propping up dictator or corrupt regime.
What annoys a lot of people when the government makes cuts in the money it gives to councils, is the millions it orrows to give in foreign aid. Surely this money should be spent here not propping up dictator or corrupt regime. Izanears

2:01pm Thu 20 Dec 12

english rose 1 says...

A Darener wrote:
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.
WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt !
[quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.[/p][/quote]WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt ! english rose 1

2:39pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Noiticer says...

It seems the government is deliberately starving councils across the north of funding at the expense of those in the south. Surely we can't go on not increasing Council tax if only by inflation. This right wing government just wants the public services to disappear so that their private enterprise friends can make a profit from taking on local services which just produces a race to the bottom in quality and pay.
It seems the government is deliberately starving councils across the north of funding at the expense of those in the south. Surely we can't go on not increasing Council tax if only by inflation. This right wing government just wants the public services to disappear so that their private enterprise friends can make a profit from taking on local services which just produces a race to the bottom in quality and pay. Noiticer

2:48pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Noiticer says...

To prove my point - Band C Council Tax in Burnley £1400 Band C in the City of Westminster £608!!! Westminster is one of the richest Boroughs in the UK. So--to those that have shall more be given - isn't this the motto of the Tory/Lib Coalition?
To prove my point - Band C Council Tax in Burnley £1400 Band C in the City of Westminster £608!!! Westminster is one of the richest Boroughs in the UK. So--to those that have shall more be given - isn't this the motto of the Tory/Lib Coalition? Noiticer

3:03pm Thu 20 Dec 12

A Darener says...

english rose 1 wrote:
A Darener wrote:
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.
WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt !
£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum!
[quote][p][bold]english rose 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.[/p][/quote]WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt ![/p][/quote]£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum! A Darener

4:13pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Kevin, Colne says...

One of the things that we must do is to re-calculate the figures taking account of inflation. This gives us a measure of the reductions in real terms. As I understand the announcement from Mr Pickles the reduction for Pendle is 8.8% and when one adds inflation at say 3% the reduction in real terms is 11.8%. The inflation figure of 3% is not unreasonable as typical increases in pay via the annual increments for those staff not at the top of a pay band grade will easily absorb 3%. For Treasurers this is the stuff of nightmares but it highlights vividly the subordinate and subservient role of local government in modern Britain; now reduced to effectively begging for crumbs from the Master's table.

There was a time when local government stood tall and proud and engaged in municipal enterprise owning and operating public transport, gas, electricity and water services and using the surplus from these activities to either reduce the rate burden or provide additional services in the locality. Ironically much of this was recorded in Laski's book 'A Century of Municipal Progress 1835-1935', which in many ways was the high-point of such enterprise.

Nearly all of this was first transferred to the state under nationalisation under Labour and then sold by the Conservatives at cut-price to the private sector. The Conservatives didn't have the sense to retrain a significant holding for the state (so that everyone could benefit from operational improvements etc and the increasing profitability) or to enact a Golden Share preventing utilities falling into foreign hands.

Sorry, but sometimes I find it hard not to despair at the sheer idiocy of our political class.
One of the things that we must do is to re-calculate the figures taking account of inflation. This gives us a measure of the reductions in real terms. As I understand the announcement from Mr Pickles the reduction for Pendle is 8.8% and when one adds inflation at say 3% the reduction in real terms is 11.8%. The inflation figure of 3% is not unreasonable as typical increases in pay via the annual increments for those staff not at the top of a pay band grade will easily absorb 3%. For Treasurers this is the stuff of nightmares but it highlights vividly the subordinate and subservient role of local government in modern Britain; now reduced to effectively begging for crumbs from the Master's table. There was a time when local government stood tall and proud and engaged in municipal enterprise owning and operating public transport, gas, electricity and water services and using the surplus from these activities to either reduce the rate burden or provide additional services in the locality. Ironically much of this was recorded in Laski's book 'A Century of Municipal Progress 1835-1935', which in many ways was the high-point of such enterprise. Nearly all of this was first transferred to the state under nationalisation under Labour and then sold by the Conservatives at cut-price to the private sector. The Conservatives didn't have the sense to retrain a significant holding for the state (so that everyone could benefit from operational improvements etc and the increasing profitability) or to enact a Golden Share preventing utilities falling into foreign hands. Sorry, but sometimes I find it hard not to despair at the sheer idiocy of our political class. Kevin, Colne

4:46pm Thu 20 Dec 12

Izanears says...

How much money will the council waste on twinning with the West Bank town.
I do not doubt that there will be a good few jollies in it for them. Oh and we no doubt will also have to appoint someone on a nice fat salary to set up meetings, hold workshops, go on courses etc etc etc etc etc.
How much money will the council waste on twinning with the West Bank town. I do not doubt that there will be a good few jollies in it for them. Oh and we no doubt will also have to appoint someone on a nice fat salary to set up meetings, hold workshops, go on courses etc etc etc etc etc. Izanears

5:48pm Thu 20 Dec 12

working chap says...

What else do you expect under the Tories. Be honest the Lib-Dams or irrelevant in government except to themselves. If this had been a Labour government doing this and Birtwistle was just council leader he would be shouting the odds, but now he has his snout in the trough . . .
What else do you expect under the Tories. Be honest the Lib-Dams or irrelevant in government except to themselves. If this had been a Labour government doing this and Birtwistle was just council leader he would be shouting the odds, but now he has his snout in the trough . . . working chap

2:43pm Fri 21 Dec 12

english rose 1 says...

A Darener wrote:
english rose 1 wrote:
A Darener wrote:
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.
WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt !
£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum!
In order to bring in £48m. Not a bad deal at all. (includes the new Blackburn bus station). Well done to the Councils concerned.
[quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]english rose 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.[/p][/quote]WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt ![/p][/quote]£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum![/p][/quote]In order to bring in £48m. Not a bad deal at all. (includes the new Blackburn bus station). Well done to the Councils concerned. english rose 1

11:53am Sat 22 Dec 12

A Darener says...

english rose 1 wrote:
A Darener wrote:
english rose 1 wrote:
A Darener wrote:
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.
WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt !
£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum!
In order to bring in £48m. Not a bad deal at all. (includes the new Blackburn bus station). Well done to the Councils concerned.
So you think that moving the bus station from its ideal position next to the railway station is a good idea? Whilst all other towns would love to have their transport hubs next to each other. Sorry but you are nuts!
[quote][p][bold]english rose 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]english rose 1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]A Darener[/bold] wrote: Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has obviously seen how much these councils, including Blackburn are going to waste on a useless bus scheme.[/p][/quote]WRONG A Darener ! The 'useless' bus scheme is Govt grant - not local spending. Indeed, Pickles actually approved these schemes. Don't blame the Council - blame the Govt ![/p][/quote]£2.33m local authority contribution.....not a small sum![/p][/quote]In order to bring in £48m. Not a bad deal at all. (includes the new Blackburn bus station). Well done to the Councils concerned.[/p][/quote]So you think that moving the bus station from its ideal position next to the railway station is a good idea? Whilst all other towns would love to have their transport hubs next to each other. Sorry but you are nuts! A Darener

5:49pm Sat 22 Dec 12

fridgedoctor says...

Izanears wrote:
How much money will the council waste on twinning with the West Bank town.
I do not doubt that there will be a good few jollies in it for them. Oh and we no doubt will also have to appoint someone on a nice fat salary to set up meetings, hold workshops, go on courses etc etc etc etc etc.
Well said!
[quote][p][bold]Izanears[/bold] wrote: How much money will the council waste on twinning with the West Bank town. I do not doubt that there will be a good few jollies in it for them. Oh and we no doubt will also have to appoint someone on a nice fat salary to set up meetings, hold workshops, go on courses etc etc etc etc etc.[/p][/quote]Well said! fridgedoctor

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