Antony made a promise to the people of this borough that he'd bring Government focus and Government investment to Burnley and Padiham and the local funding settlement for Burnley Council shows that is exactly what is being done.
In the last year alone over £50 million has been provided to Burnley Council for nothing other than Covid.
- Grant funding for businesses totalling £34.27 million
- A council tax hardship fund of £1.48 million
- Business rates relief amounting to £11.1 million
- Domestic abuse services - an additional £95,000
- Self isolation grant funding of £114,000
- Compensation for lost income £350,000
- A help for the high streets fund of £78,000
- Extra money to manage day to day services like refuse collection and green spaces totalling £2.11 million
And this is just a portion, with a further budget increase planned for next year too.
It doesn't include the extra £2 million to get Pionner Place off the ground in Burnley or the extra funding secured to start the Padiham Flood Defence scheme which is long overdue.
Speaking in the debate on Wednesday night Antony said,
Does this seem like a Council that is seeing Government funding withheld? Or a government that is going back its promises to do whatever it takes? I don't think it does!
I'll never stop lobbying the Government, standing up in Parliament to speak for Burnley and Padiham to ask for more support but we have to focus on the facts - and the fact is that this Government is providing the support needed.
That argument that yes we've had more funding from Government "BUT" does not hold sway. There is no BUT. If the local Council is going to raise Council Tax it should be clear about why it is doing it, particularly if they are inserting that BUT.
And residents should feel free to write to their local councillors to ask - "what is it that you need extra funding for that isn't already being provided?" Because the answer can't always be more tax rises. We have to squeeze every pound and penny out of the money that goes to local councils because that's what residents deserve.
With proper financial management Burnley Council, with these extra resources now at its disposal, can weather the storm of Covid and provide all the services local people rely on.