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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Barrow council may benefit from £1.175m funding boost

WHITEHALL mandarins are considering whether to award more than £1.1m in extra funding to Barrow Borough Council in April.

The money – £1.175m – would come from the government’s efficiency support grant budget for the second year running.

The authority is also set to hear whether a further cash injection worth 25 per cent of the total amount, or £293,750, will be dished out from London in recognition of its faster than expected progress on planned efficiency savings.

But borough council leader Dave Pidduck explained the money would not “make or break” the authority.

“We are on track to balance the books come April whether we get this money or not,” he told the Evening Mail.

“The budget plan is monitored constantly by our officers to make sure everything is working as planned.”

Cllr Pidduck, who will travel to the capital with borough council executive director Phil Huck for a meeting on the matter at the Department for Communities and Local Government on December 10, gave an assurance there would be no service cuts or staff redundancies in the event the council did not receive the grant.

“I was always told not to spend money you don’t have,” he said.

“So we have been careful not to depend on this money and we have been clear with our staff that we are not looking at any redundancies if it doesn’t come in.”

Barrow Borough Council was one of just seven local authorities in the country to receive the efficiency support grant last year.

If it arrives for the 2014/15 financial year, it will be used to support new projects set to be revealed over the course of the next 12 months.

Mr Huck said he was hopeful the council was working well against efficiency measures set last year.

“We’re pretty pleased with the progress made but we will have to wait until after the meeting on the 10th to find out whether we will get the extra 25 per cent, or the efficiency support grant for the second year.

“But we made a budget strategy two years ago which we are still working to.”

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