Consultation over Lancashire budget cuts

Big decisions: County Hall in Preston

Big decisions: County Hall in Preston

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Lancashire County Council is set to consult organisations across the county on plans for swingeing budget cuts over the next three years.

The plan is set out in reports to the council’s next Cabinet meeting, which takes place in the new year.

Savage Government funding cuts mean County Hall will have to find an additional £176m in savings between now and 2017/18.

Trade unions, district and unitary councils, parish councils, health bodies and police and fire representatives will be consulted on the council’s eventual 2015/16 budget.

County Councillor David Borrow, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This is to be fair and transparent, but it is also a legal requirment.

“There have already been informal consultations with groups on issues, but several formal meetings now scheduled.

“The Cabinet will meet to discuss all this on Thursday (January 8), and at the February Cabinet meeting, all the responses will be looked at. Then full council has to look at it.

“There can be amendments up to that point.”

A report to the cabinet meeting states: “The council recognises that to be sustainable and deliver for our communities the council will need to change.”

Plans to slash subsidised bus services across the county are among the proposals which have so far been made public.

Councillors will also have to make decisions on key matters including whether to increase council tax and business rates, and Cabinet members have been recommended to approve the setting aside of £5.99m to cover the termination of Defra’s waste infrastructure grant.

During November and December, the authority also invited members of the public and other interested parties to comment on the options that had been presented to the Cabinet.