Services vow in face of cuts

Coun Karen Buckley says services will not suffer
Coun Karen Buckley says services will not suffer
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TOWN hall bosses have vowed not to cut services or hike council tax – despite a £1.5m reduction in Government grants.

Fylde Council has had the cash it receives from Whitehall slashed from £5.8m to £4.3m, but claims it has planned ahead to avoid catastrophic service cuts.

And at a cabinet meeting, councillors said they would offer residents “more for less” despite the financial pressures.

Coun Karen Buckley, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “We knew it was coming and prepared.

“Our priorities are to protect our front-line services, to keep council tax low and to achieve best value for money while looking after our staff.

“The budget achieves these aims. There’s no increase in Fylde Council tax for our residents.

“We’re not cutting subsidy to Lowther Pavilion, we’ve re-opened St Annes Pool, we’re not cutting the subsidy to the Citizens Advice Bureau, we’ve improved parks across the borough – including Lowther Pavilion and Ashton Gardens – renewed our waste collection vehicles, invested in monitored CCTV and kept our streets clean.”

The council is being offered £139,000 Government cash as an incentive to freeze council tax.

Jobs are set to be axed as part of the budget, with £150,000 worth of savings to be found through “payroll efficiencies” this year.

This includes offering staff voluntary redundancy, early retirement, and entering into discussions about changes to the working week and part-time working. The council is also in discussions about shared working with Preston City Council, which would share payroll duties.

And the council’s chief executive, Phil Woodward, has already pledged to take a five per cent pay cut while other members of senior staff are also in discussions about cutting their wages.

Fylde Council began making cuts two years ago, and as a result estimates it needs to save £338,000 this year.

Coun Buckley added: “There are no knee-jerk reactions but prudent planning.”

Council leader David Eaves added: “It’s a budget which takes us forward to maintain all our frontline services, to keep all the promises we made and to make value for money the objective of this cabinet.”

The budget will be agreed at a meeting of the full council on March 2.