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Burnley faces 'city-sized challenges'
9:02am Monday 9th July 2012 in Burnley
A LEADING Burnley Labour councillor has joined Pendle Liberal Democrat peer Tony Greaves in accusing the government of starving East Lancashire boroughs of the cash needed to do their job.
Mark Townsend spoke out after new figures from the GMB union showed his authority had lost 119 jobs since the coalition government came to power in 2010.
Coun Townsend, Burnley’s Executive Member for Resources is responsible for the council’s budget.
He said: “Councils such as Burnley have suffered disproportionately within the local government financial settlements of the past two years.
“We may be a small district authority, but we have city-sized challenges which we need proper funding to address.
“We also have opportunities to build on the welcome investment that has been put in here by government and private businesses. It’s important that we are not knocked off course from making the most of this.
“I am looking for Government to rebalance the situation in the next spending round, with a more carefully thought through and fair approach to decisions on any further resource reductions.”
Last week at Westminster, Lord Greaves told ministers town’s like Burnley, Nelson and Colne had the same problems of deprivation as cities but were being denied the resources to tackle them.
GMB regional secretary Paul McCarthy said: “There are 34 000 fewer jobs in local councils in the North West since the general election. Lancashire is top of the job losses league, with 5,367 fewer jobs.”
Coun Townsend said “This survey confirms that this has been a tough time for the council and the workers who have been affected.”
Lancashire County Council’s Tory leader Geoff Driver said the GMB figures were inaccurate and that his authority had only lost 1,500 staff.
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