Councillor calls for cuts protest outside County Hall during full meeting

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An anti-cuts councillor has called for people to join a protest at Lancashire County Council’s next full meeting, after the authority approved £65m of cuts.

Coun Simon Roberts (pictured) wants a huge protest outside County Hall in Preston on December 17.

The cuts include the removal of bus subsidies, funding for the Knott End ferry and Fleetwood Museum, among many others.

Coun Roberts said:“I will be attending this protest and call on Fleetwood residents to join me. Fleetwood faces utter devastation if these cuts are carried out – they need to be stopped. The Labour-controlled county council should refuse to do the Tories’ dirty work. They will not stop unless we fight-back. Even council leader Jennifer Mein said that by 2017 ‘we will only have just enough money to pay for our statutory services’. ”

The county authority’s decision means consultations will start immediately on job losses and restructures.

If given the final go-ahead at next February’s full council budget meeting, the cuts will bite over the next two years.

Deputy leader County Coun David Borrow said the unusual timing – budgets are normally agreed in February – was necessary so that
when finally agreed, economies could be made in the new financial year without further delays.

The ruling Labour group, which governs with the support of the Liberal Democrats, says it has had no alternative but to push through the economies because of central Government funding cuts. .

The latest cuts will cost the equivalent of 367 full-time jobs and include closing 40 libraries, withdrawing funding from five museums, axing of £7.5m bus service subsidies ,£2.8m reductions in the highways budget and a major shake-up in the way the council delivers its remaining services and the closure/sale of many council buildings.

Council leader County Coun Jennifer Mein said:“The decisions we have taken are heartbreaking but reflect the unprecedented financial situation we face.

“We will do all that we can to protect the vulnerable.”

County Coun Borrow added:“It is impossible to overstate the seriousness of our financial situation.”