Counting the cost of newest funding cut

Blackpool is to have its spending power slashed by �8.5m.
Blackpool is to have its spending power slashed by �8.5m.
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Town hall chiefs were today figuring out how to cope with further planned budget cuts announced by the Government.

Blackpool is to have its spending power slashed by £8.5m from April – a fall of 4.8 per cent on this year – under the central government settlement put forward yesterday.

Wyre and Fylde councils would have their spending power cut by 3.7 per cent and 1.2 per cent respectively – compared to a national average of 2.9 per cent.

The Government has asked local authorities to respond to the proposals, which it claims are designed to be fair while recognising the responsibility councils have to make better use of their resources.

Almost £16m will be slashed from the 2014/15 budget in Blackpool, followed by around £20m the following year.

As previously reported in The Gazette, 700 town hall jobs will be lost in Blackpool over the next two years while many services will hit by the central government cuts.

However, Government figures say the total amount the council has to spend, which includes cash raised from council tax, special grants for building new homes and other revenue streams, will see the council’s actual total spending power cut by 4.8 per cent – £8.5m fro 2014/15.

Blackpool Council said it had been preparing itself for the cuts, which are understood to be in line with what was expected.

Fylde Council officials were last night analysing the numbers.

A spokesman said: “We have received the figures and are looking at them with great interest.

“Fylde Council has frozen council tax bills for three years on the trot and our intention is to safeguard services and keep bills as low as possible.

“We have a good record of finding savings with a minimum of redundancies and that will continue as we compile budgets for the coming year.”

Local government minister Brandon Lewis yesterday unveiled the plans, saying: “We have tried to be fair to every part of the country – north and south, rural and urban, metropolitan and shire.

“Of course, it is inevitable that individual local councils will wish to call for more funding for their area.”

A spokesman for Wyre Council was unavailable for comment.