Lancaster City Council faces a tough financial future with continuing government cuts leading to further reductions to services.
That was the stark warning presented to councillors this week as they decided the council’s annual budget.
While the books have been balanced for the next financial year without any reductions to services, the council faces having to find savings of nearly £3.5 million by 2018.
This is in addition to cuts the council has already seen over the last five years, during which the amount available to spend on services has reduced by more than £7million.
The budget report presented to Council on Wednesday (4th March ) warned “unless the council addresses its ongoing budget funding gap fairly soon, based on current forecasts it could run out of funds part way through 2017/18. That is not far away.”
Councillor Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “Over the last four years we’ve had to be very careful with our finances.
“While our financial strategy has worked so far without major reductions to services, where the cuts have had a severe effect is the council’s ambitions to do so much more in terms of jobs, the economy and housing.
“Unfortunately this looks set to continue into the future and the latest projections paint a bleak picture. The scale of the financial challenges still facing the council cannot be underestimated.
“The need to reduce services, be more efficient and generate more income is therefore expected to increase and over the coming year, a range of major service reductions will have to be considered."