Friday, 27 December 2013

Hyndburn Council short changed by the Government again.

On Monday - take note of the date - the 23rd of December (when wasn't Parliament) the Department for Local Government and Communities sent out letters on top ups to grant funds that prevent the seven councils facing cuts deeper than the 8.8% cuts (the maximum cut) announced by Government.

The Government backed down and awarded extra grants to the top seven authorities facing cuts above 8.8% and agreed for 2013/14 and 14/15 only, these authorities would receive the difference in grant funds. In Hyndburn's case this was around £1.25million in both years (Efficiency Support Grant)

However the chancellor following agreed to pay an extra 25% provided Council's worked more in partnership with each other and produced further savings (Efficiency Support Grant Reward Element). 

It will be interesting to see which Council's receive and which don't. Hyndburn is Labour at Parliamentary and Council level and receives 15% having been told by the minister that "I am not content that you are going further an faster with your business plans" yet Pendle - am Tory marginal -  is congratulated and receives the full 25%. 

Pendle Borough Council's last Audit Commission assessment in 2009 stated that overall, Pendle Borough Council performs well whilst Hyndburn was rated by the Audit Commission as 'Excellent'.

Since meeting the minister Hyndburn is working on joint services with Rossendale in planning and waste and works jointly with Blackburn in regeneration as was discussed with the minister.

I am told by one senior councillor over Christmas that a considerable number of officer hours were spent  on this. The managing Director and Leader of the Council were intersected to travel to Westminster by the minister who then gave them a brief 10 and what seemed an uninterested 10 minutes of his time. 

It should be noted that Pendle Council has visited Hyndburn to assess Hyndburn Leisure (and subsequently set up Pendle Lesiure, assess how Hyndburn's Public Private business Globe Enterprises works and visit Hyndburn Council's Woodnook regeneration scheme. Hyndburn Council has been to my knowledge never visited Pendle. 

I await to see what Barrow, Burnley, Bolsover, Great Yarmouth (the minister seat but Labour Council) and Hastings (Osborne's PPS Amber Rudd MP's seat / Labour Council) receive?