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Backlash expected over council investment plans

By adam civico, Assistant Editor Friday 6th July 2012
Coun Steve Houghton

Council leaders are expecting a backlash as they continue to slash services while spending millions to try and attract more businesses to Barnsley.

 

They plan to spend money on developing the town centre to encourage business to move here, while at the same time cutting services such as grass cutting and roads maintenance.

 

But council leader Steve Houghton insists the approach is right for the borough's long-term future. Although he admitted it would be a big challenge 'selling' the policy.

 

He said: "As we cut services and spend on the economy people are going to question that and say, 'why are you cutting services while improving the town centre?'."

 

A series of bleak predictions were laid out to the council's cabinet which was told a further £37m would be cut from the budget over the next four years. That's on top of £30m which has already been pulled.

 

Coun Houghton said it was inevitable services would suffer and communities would have to be more self-reliant. Meanwhile he said it was vital that millions was plunged into developing the economic outlook and making Barnsley attractive to businesses.

 

But he said the approach made sense because it would mean the council could bring in money via business rates while government funding was slashed.

 

• Full details in today's Chronicle.

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