Tuesday, 2 September 2014

More cuts ahead for Lancashire County Council

Lancashire County Hall. Photo: Johnny English (Creative Commons)

Lancashire County Council's Cabinet is to propose a budget to steer the council through the next three years, including a further £160m of savings. 

Councillors are working closely with staff to produce a budget strategy that will be published for consultation in November and seeks to set out the council's draft budget plans through until April 2018. 

The council has previously agreed £140m out of the £300m savings the council needs to deliver between 2014 and 2018, and the remainder will be identified in the new budget proposal. 

Deputy leader of the council, David Borrow, explained: "Unfortunately the continued cuts in council funding by central government mean that we still have further to go in reducing the county council's budget and the service level it can provide to our communities. 

"However, we're trying to look at things from a perspective of what would be most important if we were to start from the beginning, with a view to shaping what will in many ways be a new and very different county council that is set up to deliver those priorities. 

"One thing that won't change is that we will do everything we can to protect those services that look after the most vulnerable members of society." 

The Cabinet will present its budget proposal at its meeting on 6 November, following which there will be a period of consultation for people to give feedback. 

The £160m of savings to be included in the budget are in addition to the £532m already delivered or approved by the council since national funding reductions began in 2010. 

The council is only required to set its budget annually but Councillor Borrow says there are benefits to planning ahead: "We hope that setting a three-year budget, rather than the annual budget most councils will deliver, will give our residents and staff some certainty about the future. 

"Some of the messages will be difficult to hear but doing things this way will help give people a more rounded view of where the council is going and what to expect in the longer term." 

The budget process concludes in February 2015, when a meeting of the Full Council will be asked to approve a final budget for 2015-18. 

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