A ‘painful’ cuts package to help fill a funding gap of up to £30m has been announced today (Tuesday, January 21) by Blackburn with Darwen Council.
Every service area has put forward options to meet the savings target which is about 20% of the total Council budget in preparation for budget setting in March.
Early calculations show that around 500 jobs may have to be shed as part of the two year strategy which sees key services either changes, reduced or stop altogether. The latest measures come on the back of savings totalling £40m made since 2010.
Council leader, Councillor Kate Hollern, said: “Sadly our worst fears have been confirmed and we are going to have to make some very painful decisions.
“Given so much has already been cut, we are not able to protect even the areas we know are important to people. Services will be cut and jobs will be lost again.
“The cuts are coming on top of the economic pressures, growing demand for services and new responsibilities that are coming our way from Government. Blackburn with Darwen faces greater disadvantages than other places and the cuts will be a further damaging blow.
“We do have strengths to build on, one of them being that people in the borough are keen to work with us – shown clearly though the overwhelming response we’ve had to the Your Call initiative.”
“The Council has a good track record of coping in hard times and are committed to making every penny count so will use what we have left to focus on the big priorities like jobs and protecting vulnerable people. “
The initial options have been developed taking into consideration the continuing ‘listening’ campaign which has involved a variety of events and opportunities for people to give their views on what they want from their Council. Detail on how to give views on today’s announcements are available on the Council’s website. The package of savings is due to be debated at the Council Forum meeting on Thursday, January 31. The Council’s budget will be set on March 4.
• Changes to library services in the borough including reduced opening hours
• Changes to early help linked to the future role of children centres
• Increasing fees and charges for bulky waste, burials and cremations and leisure services
• Reducing management and administration costs across the Council
• Less grass cutting and street cleaning
• Review of opening at some leisure centres, pools and the museum
• Reduced support available across adults and children’s social care
• Stopping school clothing grants and reviewing discretionary school transport
• Reduction in young people’s service, play provision and youth clubs