HYNDBURN Council’s finances have been improved to the tune of £8m in a year but the figures have come under fire from the sceptical leader of the Labour group.
Figures for the financial year 2008-2009 state the council’s overall balance stood at just under £2m in the red – an improvement from the same time last year, when the figure was £9.9m in the red.
But Labour group leader Councillor Graham Jones attacked the figure and questioned whether it was accurate.
He said: "There is no way we have come down from £9.9m to £2.2m. Where has the money come from? This money can’t just disappear. I haven’t got that sort of money underneath my mattress."
He added: "People are not being told the truth, they are being told a politicised version of the truth and we just seem to be in a fantasy land. If we are so good, how come we only have one dog warden? We just get told we can’t afford this and we can’t afford that, it’s just a joke.
But the figures were defended by council leader Peter Britcliffe.
He said: "There is no profit for him in welcoming good news, but whether he likes it or not, we are in a much sounder position than we were when we took over from Labour.
"Had we continued as we were from Labour, we would have been facing a deficit. There is no profit for him in good news, but he could at least acknowledge it.
"You would have thought that, like me, he would be pleased that we are doing well."
The figures, which are contained in the council s statement of accounts have been released on the council’s website and contain a breakdown of all the council’s spendings and savings.
Among other things during the financial year 2008-2009 the council spent:
- £8,015,000 on housing market renewal
- £903,000 on housing improvement grants
- £191,000 on area council schemes
- £75,000 on refurbishment on Accrington Market Hall
- £55,000 on mobile CCTV using the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund
- £32,000 on horticultural features for the floral market town project
Commenting on some of the expenses, Councillor Britcliffe said: "Mobile CCTV is obviously very important as we are helping to drive down not only crime, but things like fly-tipping in the borough, which obviously makes it look much better."
Work has also now begun on Accrington’s Market Hall building which will hopefully soon be a jewel in the town’s crown.
The figures released in the report are set to go before the council’s auditors later this year.