Budget cuts totalling £5.3 million must be made over the next three years, council bosses have warned.
Nearly £700,000 must be slashed from services in Hyndburn over the next 12 months with a further £2.3 million cut in both 2016/17 and 2017/18.
The warning comes as local government grants are set to be reduced from £6.8m this year to £4.8m in two years’ time, with additional pressures from inflation, wage increases, reduced fees and the loss of other grants.
Labour Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson told a meeting of Hyndburn’s full council, that it is ‘one of the harshest austerity measures in living memory’.
Outlining his budget for the coming year, he said his plans were ‘strong and sustainable’ but warned: “There is great uncertainty for future years as we await the general election result, the autumn statement and the three-year spending review. Within the medium term financial statement the forecast for 2016/17 is this council will have to save £2.3 million then the following year £2.3 million again - and that is if our forecast is right. There is concern another Conservative government will come in and we will have ‘austerity plus’.”
Proposals rubber stamped in this year’s budget include £2 million for housing in Woodnook and other areas, £3 million for Accrington town centre and £500,000 for disability facilities.
Public buildings and leisure facilities have also been boosted with £340,000 for Mercer Hall in Great Harwood and a £75,000 to redevelop Norden Playing Fields.
However, Coun Parkinson warned that the council’s capital budget could shrink to below £1 million in future years and they will ‘need to work harder’ to increase the pot.
No compulsory redundancies will be made.
Conservative group leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said it was the ‘same dull budget’ as in previous years and defended his group’s decision not to produce an alternative.
He said: “It’s just like last year. It’s the same script, the same words, the same dull budget not investing in the borough.
“We could easily produce a budget and when we get control we will.
“One of the many reasons we didn’t put anything forward is we know you would ‘pooh-pooh’ them.”
Coun Britcliffe said the council had ‘overcharged’ residents in council tax by £750,000 and said the Tory group would offer a five per cent cut and an increase in local township spending.