Bearing the brunt of cuts

Blackpool Town Hall.
Blackpool Town Hall.
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Blackpool is among the UK’s poorest areas to be hit hardest by spending cuts, according to new figures.

Government figures show Blackpool Council’s budget has been slashed by £527 per household since 2010.

Nationally, budgets in the 10 most deprived towns – which include Blackpool in sixth place – have been slashed by an average of £782 per household, compared to £48 in the 10 best off areas.

Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “This backs up what we have been saying for a long time, and the research by Sheffield Hallam University released last year that showed Blackpool has been disproportionately affected by Government cuts and ‘welfare reform’.

“We are doing what we can to help our residents through these desperately difficult times.

“For example, we’ve introduced a free breakfast scheme so every primary school pupil can start the day with a healthy meal, we’ve reduced council tax and we’ve implemented a Living Wage scheme for staff putting extra money in the pockets of our lowest paid workers.

“These initiatives help but we are limited as to what we can do as a council when, year-on-year, the Government makes devastating cuts to our budgets.

“We face a further £20m plus cut next year which is going to be exceptionally difficult to deal with.”

Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys Paul Maynard said savings had to be made but the council should still be able to support residents.

He said: “We all recognise local government spending has come under pressure in recent years.

“But one need only look here in Blackpool at some of the spending decisions the council has made which have been questioned.

“We can’t overlook the fact we have to get public finances under control, however many of the issues Blackpool faces can’t just be solved by spending money.

“We need to work together, from the council to the voluntary sector, in a more cost effective manner to deliver positive outcomes.”

A total of £36m is set to be cut from Blackpool Council’s budget by 2016, including £16m this year.