Fight for ‘fairer’ funding

First published in News
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COUNCIL bosses have launched a Fair Deal for Bury campaign in protest at being hit with savage budget cuts.

Voters throughout the borough are being urged to demand a better financial deal from the Government by signing up to the campaign.

In the coming year, Bury’s funding from Government is being cut by 5.1 per cent compared to a cut of 3.9 per cent for the country as a whole, 3.3 per cent for metropolitan councils — of which Bury is one — and three per cent for London councils.

It is feared Bury will face the brunt of further cuts of nine per cent in 2014/15 and 7.8 per cent in 2015/16.

Council leaders have cited, as an example, that if everyone in Bury received the same amount from the Government as residents do in neighbouring Blackburn, then Bury would receive another £45 million of grant.

Cllr Mike Connolly, leader of the council, launched the campaign at last night’s full council meeting.

“Local government as a whole was singled out as the biggest loser shortly after the Government came to power,” he said. “Councils in the north of the country, with high levels of deprivation, saw their budgets cut by almost 10 times the amount taken from rural southern authorities. To add insult to injury, Bury has then been singled out to have some of the highest percentage cuts made to its funding.”

Cllr Connolly added: “Bury Council has now said that enough is enough. Bury people have done nothing to deserve this horrific treatment and we are going to fight to get our fair share of the cake. I am calling on both our MPs to join the fight and to do everything they can to persuade the Government that this unfair system has to change. We are launching an e-petition and I would urge as many people as possible to register on our website at www.bury.gov.uk and to send a clear message to Whitehall that Bury deserves better.”

Cllr Tony Isherwood, cabinet member for finance and resources, said: “As a result of the treatment that Bury receives we are having to cut £35 million out of our budget which means that we’ve got 25 per cent less to spend on providing services.”

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