Council faces grant cash cut

Cash notes 20s

Cash notes 20s

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PENDLE Council is facing a big reduction in Government grants in 2013/14.

And political leaders locally have warned that the council faces a difficult year ahead – and a tougher time still in 2014/15.

Although the exact figures have yet to be announced, council leader Coun. Joe Cooney said the cuts were in the region of £400,000.

And he said the figures would have been worse if the council had not lobbied Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis on his visit to Pendle last month.

Coun. Cooney said: “He came here in November to see how we’ve been delivering efficiency savings thanks to our work with the private sector.

“He also listened to our concerns about the loss of Transitional Grant.

“Our next job is to make a strong bid for Efficiency Support Grant money as this has replaced the Transitional Grant which Pendle has benefited from.

“Pendle is one of only seven councils in the country which can bid for this grant for 2013/14.

“It could amount to up to £949,000 and would be very useful funding for us as we face up to these tough financial times.

“If we get it, then we’ll be around half a million pounds better off than we thought we might have been in this difficult economic climate.

“But we’re still waiting for the full details from the Government. Once we have these we will forge ahead with our plans to deliver services in the most efficient and effective ways we can.

“Rest assured we will work very hard to get the best possible deal for Pendle.”

The council’s Labour group leader, Coun. Mohammed Iqbal, said the Government did not care about Pendle. He said: “This is a body-blow for Pendle from a Tory government destroying communities such as Pendle which is among the top seven councils who were handed the most severe savings targets in the country.

“For the Tory Leader of the council and our MP to actually agree with such drastic cuts means they are out of touch with Pendle people who are struggling and the council now faces a fight for survival.

“They should be lobbying for Eric Pickles to help Pendle, not behave like slaves to their masters in London. It’s clear that the Tory-led government doesn’t care about Pendle.

And Liberal Democrat group leader Coun. John David said: “The precise position for the coming year is still far from clear, but it appears it is a touch better than we had feared but nowhere near as good as we had hoped. In contrast to this, the position for 2014/2015 looks very bleak.

“We appear to have had no recognition of the vast savings and efficiency gains we have made over the last few years and we will be forced to make very difficult decisions over the next couple of months.

“I very much hope that the final position for 2013/2014 is clarified quickly so that we are able to make those decisions with proper knowledge of all the facts.”

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “This is a good financial settlement for Pendle.

“I was pleased the arguments Pendle Council and myself put forward were listened to by the Minister when he visited and they have clearly been taken into account as this settlement is much better than expected.

“Local Government spending accounts for 25% of all Government spending so it is right that local councils should play their part in clearing the record deficit left by the last Labour Government.”