Corby fireworks display axe: Public to be consulted

A piper at this year's bonfire night fireworks display
A piper at this year's bonfire night fireworks display
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A plan to axe Corby’s popular Bonfire Night party and save £10,000 a year is to go out to public consultation.

The plan has been included in a list of proposals to cut Corby Council’s spending by £909,000 in 2014.

Council officers have come up with a list of possible savings, which also includes the withdrawal of £10,000 in small grants to community groups.

As part of the 2014-15 budget proposals, councillors are being recommended to freeze council tax for another year and to increase council house rents by five per cent, in line with Government policy.

At a meeting of the council’s One Corby Policy Meeting on Tuesday, councillors agreed that the proposals should go out to public consultation.

A final decision on cuts and spending plans will not be made until February.

The council needs to make savings of £1m over the next two years and £2m over the next five years.

Five seminars were held during which officers and councillors thrashed out ways to balance the budget.

At the meeting council chief executive Norman Stronach said: “The budget report is the culmination of a lot of hard work by officers. There are no easy fixes.”

Conservatives on the council say they will oppose axing the Guy Fawkes Night celebration at the boating lake, which attracts thousands of visitors.

Conservative group leader Cllr David Sims said: “We want to promote culture, recreation and tourism here in Corby and cancelling our fantastic firework display is not the way to go about this.”

Council leader Cllr Tom Beattie said: “These are proposals put forward by officers and we have a duty to consider everything.”

However, he said the officers’ proposal of axing the bonfire night party would be out of step with the public.

Additional spending tnext year includes £50,000 to pay its employees the ‘living wage’ of £7.65 an hour.

At the meeting Conservative councillors, who supported the Liberal Democrats’ proposal, asked for the living wage agreement to be withdrawn from next year’s budget. Their motion was defeated.

Other cuts proposed by council officers include axing the One Corby council magazine to save £11,000 a year, and restructuring management of the council’s leisure department, saving £71,000, which could mean the loss of two jobs.

The public consultation on the budget proposals will include residents, parish councils and community groups.

Cllr John McGhee said: “No one comes into local government to make cuts. This has been forced on us.”