£9m slashed from Blackpool's council budget brings total to £152m

Another £9m is expected to be slashed from Blackpool Council's budget next year as the town faces its eighth year of cuts.

Thursday, 15th November 2018, 8:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th November 2018, 9:29 pm
Council leader Simon Blackburn

Council leader Simon Blackburn said it means cumulative cuts since 2011 amount to £152m.

Over the same period 900 jobs have been lost, with staff numbers dropping to 2,150 from 3,050 in 2011.

In a report, Coun Blackburn (inset) said that, while the Prime Minister Theresa May recently claimed austerity is over, “it most definitely is not for the people of Blackpool.”

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Council leader Simon Blackburn

Details of how savings will be made have not yet been revealed because town hall officers are still working on the final budget plans for next year. Around £1m is expected to be saved bringing the bin collection service back in-house, while one-off savings on the street lighting contract will also be made.

It comes almost a year after the council said it was the beginning of the end of austerity.

Coun Blackburn said: “Blackpool Council will be forced to make the painful choices, savings and cuts needed to deliver £9m of cost reductions in the year ahead. My administration has succeeded in maintaining key services and the viability of the council despite this appalling financial context.”

The cumulative cuts are estimated to have seen resources worth £830m pulled from the Blackpool economy since 2011. Last year, £5.5m was cut from the council’s budget and 70 job losses were announced. The council is also currently predicting to overspend by £4m on this year’s budget.

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Tories in Blackpool, said Coun Blackburn was “staring into a crystal ball” by predicting £9m of cuts.

He said: “The government hasn’t announced its settlement yet and Theresa May has said there will be more money for local councils. So how Coun Blackburn can predict this shortfall for next year is beyond me. It really is a warning they will put up council tax to cover the losses.”

Ken Cridland,from campaign group Blackpool Against the Cuts,said: “These are cuts and not ‘budget adjustments’ or ‘efficiency savings’ of any other euphemism, and they are much worse than we expected. The Prime Minister was out of order to say austerity was coming to an end.”

The budget is expected to be finalised on December 6 when the government settlement is announced.