A FURTHER £41 million in savings needs to be made by Wigan Council in the next three years.

Despite having hit its saving targets and cutting its debt, the authority has said it still faces a ‘huge challenge’.

The council has already made cuts totalling £18.8m in the last financial year.

Leader of Wigan Council, Lord Peter Smith, said: “These accounts show our books are in good shape and we’re in a strong financial position considering what we’ve been dealing with.

“It’s been hugely challenge managing the scale of cuts we’ve received from central government and we have a huge challenge ahead of us. We are only half-way through the savings programme. But, at this mid-point, we’re in a position of strength because we’ve taken tough decisions and acted quickly.

“Our campaign ‘The Deal’ includes a commitment from the council and the public for us to work together to make Wigan Borough a better place. With the public’s help, we are confident we can continue to transform rather than slash services and protect those services that support our most vulnerable.”

In the last three years, the council has paid off £31.7 million of debt.

“We’ve cut our back office functions, restructured our management team and changed working practices across the council. But we’ve been able to ensure services for the vulnerable are protected and done everything possible to minimise disruption for residents,” added Lord Smith.

“Thanks to the strength of our financial position – which has been achieved through hard work and by making difficult decisions – we have been able to invest in projects such as our apprenticeship programme and The Deal for Communities investment fund. We would not be in a position to do this had we not managed our money carefully.”