5th November 2013
Copeland MP Jamie Reed has warned that the latest government cuts to the budgets of Cumbria County Council and Copeland Borough Council will leave existing local government structures in Cumbria ‘unsustainable’. He said:
“Copeland Borough Council has had its budget halved by the government – it’s dropping from almost £15million to £7.5m and Cumbria County Council has to pass on additional government cuts of £80m on top of the £86m cut they’ve already had to deal with. All of this means that existing local government structures in Cumbria can’t continue in the present form.
“I am writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ask him to look again at structures in Cumbria. If government is content for the existing, malnourished structure to exist, then we have to look at the number of councillors each council has. It’s hard to make the case for small borough councils in areas of two-tier local government to have 50 or more councillors, so a boundary review of council wards and a reduction in councillor numbers might be necessary.
“In Whitehaven, this reduction should also see the creation of a Whitehaven Town Council so that the needs of the town – more specifically the town centre – could be met. Theoretically a town council may be able to raise between £300,000 and £500,000 per annum and this could be spent on amenities in the town centre. Away from private sector contributions and donations, this is the best, most readily achievable way to raise revenue. Expenditure like this could go a long way in augmenting and supporting the £1.4 million heritage lottery project in the town centre and the £20m plus development of Albion Square.”