Blackpool residents have suffered from council cuts more than anywhere else in the country, according to BBC research. Cuts to council budgets have left Blackpool officials having to save £166 per person – worse than anywhere else in England. Blackpool Council has to make cuts of £23m in the current financial year, leading to it increasing council tax by the maximum 4.99% allowed. Almost £10m has been taken from reserves as part of efforts to plug the huge gap.
Blackpool is already the most deprived are is England according to the BBC report which suggests many local authorities are struggling to balance their books, with the average council predicted to be £33m in the red by 2025-26, a 60% rise from two years ago.
Labour Councillor Ivan Taylor said Blackpool Council would not be able to keep dipping into its reserves. He added: ‘We need the government to provide us with a long-term plan that allows us to adequately prepare for the future and keep services running for our communities. Raising funds for services through council tax rises is not the solution. We did not want to increase council tax – it just adds to the burden our residents are already facing – but we felt like we had no choice.’
Conservative Councillor Paul Galley replied: ‘Whilst the headline figure of savings amounting to £166 per person sounds dramatic, it doesn’t take into account the capital investment grants received by Blackpool Council, worth almost £200m in the last 12 months. It’s also important to remember that the government grant element of our budget now makes up less than a third of the total budget, with the other two thirds of income being raised locally here in Blackpool.’