A SPRING clean has been ordered for Burnley – as councillors voted through a 1.99 per cent increase in the council tax rates for the borough.

Seventeen cenotaphs across Burnley, Padiham and Hapton will be cleaned and re-lettered as part of a £50,000 initiative which will also see major ‘gateways’ spruced up and a clampdown on dog fouling and strays.

And a further £25,000 will be given to Padiham town centre, following on from a £30,000 investment approved earlier. The schemes will be funded by a projected underspend for this year.

Conservatives made a late bid to freeze the council tax, by reducing the Ward Opportunities Budget funding for each councillor and taking advantage of a Whitehall grant for not increasing the rates.

But the plans, drawn up by Coun Matthew Isherwood, were rejected by Labour and the vast majority of Liberal Democrats, who approved resources cabinet member Coun Mark Townsend’s financial plan for 2014-15.

Coun Townsend said: “It is only right and fitting that in this centenary year of the start of the Great War the council remembers and demonstrates its gratitude to those servicemen who fell in action.”

He accused central Government of trying to ‘micro-manage’ Burnley’s economy, as the authority faced a £7.6million budget cut from four years ago.

Coun Margaret Lishman, Liberal Democrat group leader, said the budget was ‘fair and reasonable’ in the current economic climate but she expressed regret that a freeze could not be agreed.

Former Mayor Coun Roger Frost said he agreed with most of the budget, but objected to Labour taking credit for the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve, Weavers’ Triangle redevelopment and Burnley Bridge business park.