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Key review put on hold

A KEY Government review of Hyndburn Council's performance and efficiency has had its result postponed because of the authority's cash crisis.

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A KEY Government review of Hyndburn Council's performance and efficiency has had its result postponed because of the authority's cash crisis.

Audit Commission inspectors visited the council in October to carry out a "comprehensive performance assessment'', an examination of how well councils deliver services and implement policies.

An announcement should have been made yesterday but has been delayed until 4 March.

Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "We've agreed this delay with the commission so we can all be assured the judgement reached is the correct one in light of the current financial position and our recovery plan. There is no assumption the assessment will change.''

He added: "We feel we're a good council and the actions we are taking to deal with this financial position will confirm that."

There are five possible scores - poor, weak, fair, good and excellent.

In November Councillor Britcliffe and opposition leader Jean Battle said they were pleased with the inspectors' draft report, which apparently painted "a picture of a council that is rapidly improving and committed to doing the best for the borough and its people."

News of the delay came as the council announced a plan to sell off Premier Mill in Great Harwood, which would cut the deficit from £1.8M to around £200,000.

But a community group representing thousands of residents slammed council secrecy over the affair and called for administrators to be called in.