Council warns of £200m cuts in spending

Talks: County Hall bosses are to hold talks with unions ahead of more budget cuts
Talks: County Hall bosses are to hold talks with unions ahead of more budget cuts
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Lancashire County Council has warned it may face spending cuts of up to £200m in the coming years.

Bosses at the authority made the announcement as they discussed how they would reach savings of £20m this year, after a settlement from local government saw overall cash resources fall by 4.7% - from £434m to £414m.

County treasurer Gill 
Kilpatrick said that with cuts in funding, increases in demands on services, and increases in costs, they could face significant reductions as part of the government’s next comprehensive spending review, due in spring.

Addressing a meeting of the authority’s cabinet, she said: “What has been trailed, whether in the Chancellor’s budget or the Autumn statement, has been very clear warnings that local governments will see the same reductions in the next CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review) as it has in the current one.

“The average reduction for authorities is 7.25 per cent each year. What that takes us to is a four-year reduction of a further 25 per cent. In terms of Lancashire, I think it is fair to say that the reductions in funding together with managing increases on demand could mean for us over the next CSR a reduction in spending of £200m.”

Talks will be held with trade unions, local business leaders, Chambers of Commerce in Lancashire, as well as the Youth Council, as they strive to make savings of £20m for this year.

They are also set to hold consultations throughout this month on what areas should be protected from cuts, as well as deciding what areas need investment.

She announced there was however some good news, with a £3.6m boost for highways maintenance this year and a £2.9m boost for adult social care.

She said the authority would not have a complete picture on this year’s budget until district authorities had made a decision on how they would implement council tax benefit changes.