Council leader Eamonn O'Brien has set out the local authority's major priorities for 2023 as the year draws to a close.

Helping people who have financial challenges, building more homes on brownfield sites, regenerating Bury, Radcliffe and Prestwich and giving pay rises to the lowest paid workers are areas the council will be working on.

Finding ways to deal with the £29m worth of cuts to the council will be another challenge.

Cllr O’Brien said: “It’s fair to say that 2022 will live in the memory more than most!

"Covid, Ukraine, the death of the Queen, and three Prime Ministers in as many months.

“As the year ends, the struggle for many people is to put food on the table and turn on the heating.

“Bills have gone through the roof, and this calamitous cost of living crisis means that a lot of people will have a bleak house instead of a Christmas carol.

“And there will be a lot to do in the New Year.

"Our first task is to balance the budget which, thanks to a decade of austerity, means finding £29m of cuts.

“But before we get too depressed, let’s not forget that there are many reasons for optimism in 2023.

“We’re going to continue providing help to get Bury people through these financial challenges- from free school meals over the holidays to fuel bill supplements for residents who rely on medical equipment at home.

“We’ll also be going flat out to regenerate our town centres in Bury, Radcliffe and Prestwich, putting in unprecedented levels of money to ensure our borough thrives for decades to come.

“As part of this regeneration, many new homes will be built on brownfield sites across the borough, helping families to get on the housing ladder and bringing derelict sites back into use.

“And, as a Real Living Wage employer, some of the lowest paid people in Bury will get a pay rise, particularly those who work in social care."

Cllr O'Brien praised workers in the town for their efforts this year too.

He said: “There are countless people who deserve our thanks for all their hard work in 2022.

"I’d particularly like to praise all the staff and volunteers who administered the Covid vaccination programme, keeping Bury people safe from illness and worse.

“All things must pass, so let’s say goodbye to 2022 and look forward to a new future for Bury.

“If we all work together, we can make our borough the best place to call home.”

Cllr O'Brien added that he hopes readers enjoy the festive period and have a happy New Year.

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