Going for broke as council reveals the full cost of cuts

Lancashire County Council's deputy leader, County Coun David Borrow
Lancashire County Council's deputy leader, County Coun David Borrow
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Lancashire County Council bosses are warning that the council will be cleared out of its spare reserves by 2018, even though by then lots of services may have been axed.

The full scale of the devastation facing the county council, including the services which are at risk, is being revealed to councillors this week.

County Hall

County Hall

Each political group is being briefed on the stark choices facing the council as it makes predicted cuts of an additional £223m by April 2020.

As councillors outlined the cost of legally required (adult social care and children’s) services and non-legally required services angry union leaders claimed that the county, would be penniless within two years - but said residents and MPs had no idea of the damage being inflicted behind closed doors.

The shortfall, if the council continued to provide a full range of services, would be £112.4m in 2017/18. Earlier County Coun David Borrow, deputy leader of the council admitted: “In 2017/18 we would be just about able to meet all our statutory requirements - everything non statutory would be unaffordable.”

With services ranging from street lighting and library provision to the minutiae of social care obligations under the microscope Elaine Cotterell, leader of the county’s UNISON branch, said the union is planning a public campaign: “Even we have been shocked by the scale of the cuts revealed to staff...Every family in Lancashire will be affected by this news because all of us pay for and use council services.”

She claimed the council would not be able to provide vital services after April 2018 and even street lights could go out.

Council leader Coun Jennifer Mein stressed Labour rated some not legally required services essential such as economic development. She hoped all parties could agree on where to make the cuts.