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Meeting the Budget Challenge 2017

Residents and organisations in West Lancashire were invited to give their views on the Borough Council’s proposals for savings, efficiencies and increases in income totalling £310,000.

The closing date was 3 September and the responses are now being analysed. The Council will consider the results in October 2017.

The main proposals were:

  • Increasing a number of fees and charges each year, in line with inflation. This would include e.g. charges for pest control, and some licensing charges but does not include car park charges
  • Increasing the charge for replacement wheelie bins from £23 to £25 to cover the actual cost of providing the bins
  •  Ending the provision of a civic car for the Mayor, and reducing the number of functions attended by the Mayor
  • A review of the way the Council carries out street cleaning and grounds maintenance
  • Increasing bus station departure charges to bus companies from 7.5 pence to 50 pence per departure 
  • Reviewing the Home Care Link emergency response system, which currently runs at an annual deficit of around £70,000, to ensure it at least breaks even in the future.

Further information

The Council faces a budget gap in 2018/19 of around £1.9 million. This is due to two main factors: on-going reductions in government funding, and the loss of income from Lancashire County Council due to the ending of the Waste Partnership agreement in 2018.

Efficiency measures totalling around £445,000 that will not impact on residents have also been identified to help meet the budget gap. These include savings and general efficiencies across a range of services, budget streamlining savings, efficiencies from a staff restructuring programme, use of balances to avoid the need to borrow at higher interest rates, and replacing printed refuse collection calendars with an online facility.

Further consideration will then be given to how the remaining budget gap should be addressed over the period up to the February 2018 Council meeting where next year’s budget will be finalised.

Over the last eight years, the Council has made savings and generated additional income totalling more than £10 million. This includes a package of measures totalling around £1.18 million that is being implemented in the current financial year. These measures involve increases in income as well as efficiencies and spending reductions, and include the introduction of charges for the garden waste collection service.