Lancashire’s Council Taxpayers face rises of more than 4%

Lancashire County Council's deputy leader, County Coun David Borrow
Lancashire County Council's deputy leader, County Coun David Borrow
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Council Tax bills in Lancashire are set to rise by at least 4% in April - with Lancashire County Council saying its share of the charge will go up by 3.99 %.

News of the increase was revealed at a council executive scrutiny meeting when financial bosses acknowledged the council faces yet more cuts, with the predicted financial shortfall for 2020/21 rising by another £7m to £153m.

The increase means the county authority’s Council Tax on a Band D property will be £1221.74, compared to the £1,174.86 it charged this year.

Some 2% of the increase will go to fund the council’s rising social care costs.

Meanwhile final bills will be higher, when further charges from local borough and city councils, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire, the Lancashire Combined Fire Authority and, where applicable, parish and town councils, are added in.

Director of Financial Resources Neil Kissock said the council was unlikely to be able to present a “legal budget” by 2018/19 even using all £83.249m of remaining reserve funds and more cuts must be identified. Noting £36m would be left in the additional County Fund, which is retained for serious emergencies, cash flow and unexpected loss of council income, he said: “In 2017/18 we are clearly in position through use of reserves to set a legal balanced budget. In 2018/19 there are clearly a number of risks.”

There was no debate about the budget figures at the meeting, although Coun Alyson Barnes criticised national funding arrangements for councils declaring:“It’s no way to run a railroad.” Deputy leader Coun David Borrow, said the council is seeking to align spending on services with those of lower spending county councils.