County Hall outlines £50m savings plans

Unethical: Lancashire County Council pension scheme has been slammed for investing in cigarettes and alcohol giants

Unethical: Lancashire County Council pension scheme has been slammed for investing in cigarettes and alcohol giants

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Lancashire County Council bosses have outlined initial proposals to save nearly £50m next year.

The savings proposals, presented at a cabinet meeting yesterday, represent nearly two thirds of the £76m saving required in 2014/15.

County Coun Jennifer Mein

County Coun Jennifer Mein

Proposals also detailed how £117m of the £300m savings required over the next four years could be made.

Cabinet heard how savings would be made through reducing costs, reshaping the way services are delivered and options for how the council will increase income through charges and make savings though reducing services were also proposed for consultation.

More than £19m of savings were also been identified thanks to a scheme that challenged all of the council’s staff to put forward ideas for how to do things more efficiently.

Speaking about the savings, County Coun David Borrow, deputy leader of LCC, said: “Today’s proposals underline the scale of the challenge we face. Having already taken £220 million out of the budget over the last three years we are now forced to cut a further £300m over the next four years, as a result of unprecedented cuts made by central Government.

“We have been working very hard with officers to ensure that we can continue to provide vital services for the people of Lancashire, particularly for those vulnerable people who rely on us.”

Further proposals detailing how the rest of the required savings will be achieved will be announced as part of a consultation process before the 2014/15 budget is agreed by the full council meeting in February 2014.

County Coun Jennifer Mein, leader of the County Council, said: “My administration and the council’s officers are moving heaven and earth to ensure that we can continue to safeguard the vulnerable and deliver high quality services to the people of Lancashire, whilst also balancing the books.

“But people should be under no illusions – in 2018 the council’s budget will be half what it was in 2010, which means the council will be significantly smaller and will look very different.

“The cuts we are dealing with are of such severity that we have no option but to look at radical solutions.

“For that reason our plan is to publish a detailed budget for 2014/15 while working on a longer-term, further three-year budget that will reflect what are likely to be significant changes to how we are structured and how we deliver services, and will offer greater stability and certainty for the future.”

As part of the proposals, all staff will be offered the opportunity to express an interest in voluntary redundancy, although at this point it is not possible to say how many jobs will be lost.

Council bosses have committed to use redeployment and voluntary redundancy wherever possible where jobs are lost.

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