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Warning over 'serious cuts' in Burnley
SERIOUS cuts will have to be made to services if Burnley Council’s budget is slashed by nearly a third, town hall bosses have warned.
‘Crown jewels’ like Burnley Mechanics, Padiham Leisure Centre and St Peter’s Centre already look set to be transferred to an arms-length leisure trust.
And a number of deals have been struck with neighbouring authorities to share expertise and to also reduce costs.
But the borough’s executive has been told that it will need to make wholesale savings of £5.2million before 2015-16 just to break even.
Around £500,000 is being clawed back from the authority’s reserves, for use as a fighting fund before tough decisions are made on cutbacks.
However Coun Mark Townsend, the council’s resources cabinet member and deputy leader, said the Government’s austerity programme, and the loss of grants, will mean some cherished services may be lost.
He said: “The scale of the challenge requires radical transformation and reconfiguration of council services and a strategic reassessment of priorities “To respond to such a challenge, careful planning, consultation and implementation are required.”
The Labour councillor has accused the coalition of redrecting vital funds, needed in Burnley and East Lancashire, towards its southern heartlands.
Last February, the anticipated funding gap was still high, estimated at between £3.7million and £4.2million.
One of the largest blows is expected to be the loss of a £1.8million ‘efficiency support grant’, handed out to town halls as an incentive who make sufficient progress on implementing cuts.
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