THE leader of Pendle Council has warned of ‘savage and draconian’ cuts to services and job losses if a Government grant is stopped.

Local authorities are waiting to hear if the transitional grant funding will end as scheduled in 2013/14.

But Pendle has urged ministers to keep the money in place or else it could be forced to make further job cuts.

Coun Joe Cooney has pressed the case to local government minister Bra- ndon Lewis at a meeting with council chief executive Stephen Barnes.

And in a follow-up letter to the minister, Coun Cooney issued a dire warning about the implications if the money was not forthcoming.

He said: “The size of the proposed grant reductions are of a magnitude that, even in an extremely efficient authority such as Pendle, they outstrip by a large measure any efficiency measures that could be further implemented.

“Savage and draconian service cuts and job losses could be the only outcome if no solution can be found. The last settlement still left Pendle facing severe grant reductions and during the last two years we have saved a further £2.5million.”

Pendle received £2.2million in transitional grant funding for 2012/13, and they fear that losing this would force them to make drastic cuts.

Coun Cooney said the proposed grant reductions went far beyond the efficiency savings already made by the council.

He said: “I know you will understand the difficulty this may lead to in maintaining some of our priority front-line services if the proposed grant reductions go ahead.

“That would be particularly damaging to an efficient Conservative-led council such as Pendle.”

In 2010, Pendle made 23 staff redundant, a much reduced figure from the original estimate of 76.

In the past 12 months the council has used some of the grant funding to support voluntary, community and faith sector groups to help them become self-sufficient organisations. It has also invested in neighbourhood teams and tried to encourage economic growth.