Blackpool facing £38m in further cuts to town hall spending

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Blackpool Council is predicting further savings of £38m will be needed over the next five years prompting warnings more services could be cut.

 

More town hall jobs could also be lost as the council faces even tougher challenges to balance its books.

The forecast is on top of £20m of cuts which had to be made in the current budget which is already £6.5m in the red, of which £3.9m is from the impact of Covid.

More than three quarters of council spending (77 per cent) is on social care for adults and children, while financial pressures imposed since 2011 add up to a total budget gap of £1.4bn.

Town hall spending is coming under more pressure

Town hall spending is coming under more pressure

This includes reductions in the revenue support grant from government, pay rises for staff and the effect of inflation.

The figures were presented to a meeting of the council’s executive which agreed a new five year financial strategy up until 2026/27.

A report by director of resources Steve Thompson said councils were facing “uncharted territory” in the face of increasing financial pressures and demand for services.

His report adds: “Along this journey further services will have to be reprioritised and inevitably some jobs lost, which will not go unnoticed by the residents of Blackpool, the businesses that operate here and the visitors who come to stay.”

He warned the council must work with the public, its partners, the voluntary and the private sector “to minimise the impact of the cuts on the people who need and depend upon our services.”

In a further report he says each year it is becoming more and more difficult to make efficiency savings and set the budget without more government cash.

The means “with 77 per cent of the revenue budget now earmarked for social care (adults and children) more radical, fundamental, transformational

and sustainable solutions will become necessary by 2027 if compensating government funding is not provided.”

However Mr Thompson told councillors the council’s wholly owned companies which include The Winter Gardens, Blackpool Transport and the Sandcastle Waterpark, are performing better.

At the start of the financial year in April, losses of £5.6m were predicted as the companies continued to recover from the impacts of lockdown – but that figure has reduced to a predicted deficit of £2.3m.

This year’s budget saw the loss of 40 council jobs and an increase in council tax of 4.99 per cent with cuts of £20m.

Protecting the most vulnerable residents was prioritised, with £10m invested in adult and children’s social care.