WHEN the Government spending axe fell on councils, Barrow was hit hard.

The ‘decade of austerity,’ forced Barrow council into a radical savings plan.

Given that its annual budget is £10 million, £7.6 million is a considerable sum to lose; a situation aggravated by massive cuts at Cumbria County Council. Although it is politically-unpopular, councils can pass these shortfalls onto the public and hike council tax.

But in an area like Barrow, with high levels of deprivation, not only is this hugely unwelcome to voters, it is not as profitable either because the majority of homes are in the cheapest category.

In short, the council’s hands were tied, as it could never generate the kinds of sums it needed to claw back - even if it dared whack up our rates.

This has led to the council having to cut its cloth. People will have their own views on how much impact this has had and criticisms remain of the outsourcing of the waste collection and street cleansing service to a private company.

A comprehensive spending review by the Government was due to be launched this summer to set out the future funding for councils into the next decade.

It is critical that councils are not kept in the dark about where its grants of tomorrow are coming from.