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Monday, August 07, 2017

Meeting the budget challenge

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

Service users and residents, along with local community groups, organisations and businesses, can give their views through the  Meeting the Budget Challenge page on the website. Comments can also be submitted by letter and email.

The closing date is 3 September and the Council will consider the results in October 2017.

The main proposals are:

  • 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.

Cllr Chris Wynn, portfolio holder for finance, said: “The Council faces serious financial challenges which mean that each year we must make savings and find ways of increasing income. We appreciate that some of the proposals will impact on local people, organisations and businesses, and so we are keen to seek their views.

“I urge residents and local organisations to take this opportunity to give us their comments on the proposals so we can take their views into account when we make decisions in October.”

The Council is seeking views from individuals and organisations and is working with West Lancashire CVS to contact local voluntary and community groups, businesses, and other organisations to invite them to take part. However, it is stressed that the consultation is open to all. Any organisation can complete the survey and all residents can take part. Paper copies of the surveys can be provided if requested.

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.

 

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