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Friday, January 16, 2015

Council confident about maintaining service levels when it sets budget

West Lancashire Borough Council is confident it will be able to maintain the current level of services it provides for the next financial year when it sets its budget in February 2015. 

The authority had been facing a £1.3m budget gap for 2015/16, due largely to central government cutting its core revenue support grant funding by around £1m next year. 

However a package of proposals consisting of efficiencies and additional income worth £645,000 has now been agreed for the next financial year. In addition through strong financial management the Council will deliver an under spend against the current year’s budget that will be sufficient to close the remaining deficit. 

The additional income will be achieved without increasing fees and charges. This includes charges for the use of the Council’s car parks which are expected to be frozen for the fourth successive year. 

Councillors will set the budget for 2015/16 at the Council meeting on 25 February 2015. As part of this process they will decide whether or not to freeze the borough’s Council Tax for the sixth year in a row. 

Councillor David Whittington, portfolio holder for Resources, said: “The government is reducing our funding and many costs are rising, so we have to reduce our spending and improve our income generation. Therefore I am delighted that we are in a strong position to set up a budget for 2015/16 which has no cuts in services to the public. 

“We have been able to achieve this position with prudent financial management, and by finding a carefully-considered package of efficiency savings and modest increases in income.  We are balancing the need to save money and increase income with the wish to maintain services and minimise the impact on residents. We hope that when we come to set the budget for 2015/16 we will be able to announce more good news for residents in terms of investment in the borough and in services.” 

One of the areas where the Council has received additional income is through planning application fees as the economy improves. 

For more details about Council budgets please visit Council budget.

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