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Friday, March 01, 2019

Important schemes agreed as Council sets budget for 2019/20

West Lancashire Borough Council has set its budget for the next financial year, ensuring the continuation of frontline services at current levels.

Like many councils across the UK, West Lancashire Borough Council continues to face a challenging financial position. As a direct result of reductions in government grant funding, the annual budget requirement has been reduced by well over 30% in the last nine years. To achieve this, the Council has had to make savings and generate additional income amounting to more than £10 million.

Despite all of the measures taken, the Council still needs to save or raise additional income of £1.9 million by 2021/22 to meet the budget gap created by reductions in central government funding.

The Council is taking significant strides towards achieving this through its Sustainable Organisation Review Project. This aims to ensure the Council can deliver its vision of being ambitious for West Lancashire's economy, environment and health and wellbeing, whilst also being financially sustainable over the medium term future.

Next year’s budget has been set in this financial context. These decisions were made at the Council meeting on 27 February 2019, when Councillors met to agree the budget for the 2019/20 financial year. In preparing this budget, the Council has worked hard to avoid service reductions and has also been able to find funding for the following schemes:

  • Extra support for implementing the exciting Tawd Valley Park project, including employing a new full-time ranger and funding community activities
  • Hire of traffic management equipment for tackling litter issues on high speed roads
  • Purchasing additional equipment to keep our streets clean
  • Making payments for parking even easier by enabling drivers to pay by credit or debit card
  • Funding to commission a study into Food Insecurity in the Borough
  • Internal and external structural repair work at Park Pool and Nye Bevan Sports Centre, to ensure their continued maintenance while the Council implements plans for new leisure and wellbeing hubs

Councillor Adam Yates, portfolio holder for Resources and Transformation, said: "For the best part of a decade, this Council has had its funding reduced year on year by central government. We continue to face further significant financial challenges ahead, particularly with the move to make all local authorities self-funding by 2020/21 and the lack of information currently being provided by government to allow us to plan for the medium-term. However, we are determined to maintain frontline services, while still investing in our council and our borough to make real improvements for local people.

"Through initiatives such as our new development company, we will be looking to generate additional income and make a positive social impact by providing more affordable housing across West Lancashire. We are also undertaking a full strategic review of all Council services to improve accessibility for residents and to deliver further efficiencies where possible."

Council Tax

The Council Tax for West Lancashire Borough Council, for the government designated ‘average’ Band D property in 2019/20 will be £203.39 per year, or around £3.91 a week. Most of the properties in West Lancashire are designated Band A and B.

Just over 11% of the Council Tax comes to the Borough Council. The total council tax includes charges from Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Lancashire Constabulary. The Council Tax for some areas will also include a parish council precept.

The bills for ‘average’ Band D properties (excluding parish council precepts) are set out below:
                                                            2018/19            2019/20                     Change
West Lancs Borough Council                     £197.49            £203.39                     2.99%
Lancs County Council                               £1,294.92         £1,346.59                  3.99%
Lancs Combined Fire Authority                  £67.46              £69.48                       2.99%
Lancs Police Authority                              £177.45             £201.45                    13.52%
Total                                                      £1,737.32         £1,820.91                  4.81%

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