Friday, February 25, 2022

West Lancashire Borough Council successfully agrees budget to maintain services and foster prosperity

  • Budget passed after cross-party agreement
  • Financial plans to support prosperity of the Borough
  • Council tax rise kept below 2.5%


Following a meeting of the full Council, West Lancashire Borough Council has agreed its budget for 2022/23, which will enable it to maintain its services in the coming year.

The budget has been formed through collaborative working across all political parties initiated by the Labour Finance portfolio holder Councillor Adam Yates.  This approach, coupled with two motions put forward by Councillor David Whittington (Conservative) and Councillor Adrian Owens (Our West Lancashire) led to cross-party support being secured for spending commitments for the next 12 months, including:

  • £260k for a council tax discretionary relief scheme to support the most vulnerable in society in the current cost of living crisis
  • A £101k increase in planning enforcement resources
  • £88k to support the business & visitor economy and to attract inward investment
  • £68k investment in new litter bins
  • £39k increase in environmental spending to support enforcement and education projects
  • £25k to support Dial-a-Ride service
  • £22k to enhance the environment at key gateways around the Borough
  • £6k to fund four community environmental improvements

These initiatives will take place alongside other important projects already in progress, such as the development of Skelmersdale Town Centre, which is due to open in spring of this year.

Councillor Adam Yates, Portfolio Holder for Resources & Transformation, said: "I am proud of the way we have risen to the many challenges presented to us over the last financial year and of the consistent support and services the Council has been able to provide to residents and businesses across the Borough despite very real difficulties.   I am particularly pleased to have secured cross-party support to set aside £260k for a council tax discretionary relief scheme to support the most vulnerable in society in the current cost of living crisis.

"In the interests of the residents of West Lancashire, political parties have worked together and are in agreement on many aspects of this budget. We recognise that our local households will be facing unprecedented pressure in the next financial year, particularly with food and energy bills significantly increasing and therefore we are keeping council tax increases to below 2.5% - a decision that received unanimous support at full council.

"West Lancashire Borough Council, like local authorities throughout the country, is going to be under extreme financial pressure and any rise in council tax is approved out of necessity rather than choice, but we can assure residents that we will be working harder than ever to make every penny they contribute deliver reliable services right where they're needed. I think this budget also shows our ambitions to deliver significant improvements across the Borough that will help West Lancashire move towards its brighter future as a prosperous and desirable place to live, work and visit."

"Officers have also been working hard to support some of our most financially vulnerable residents with 554 people awarded £136,000 from the Government's Household Support Fund so far. This fund has been crucial in helping families with essential items over the winter period who may otherwise have struggled to pay essential bills or put food on the table in what is becoming a national cost of living crisis.

"We have additionally issued over £41m in COVID grants to businesses to help them weather the storm of the pandemic and Brexit uncertainty with the most recent Economic Recovery Grant scheme seeing Council officers helping businesses to find ways of running their operations more efficiently in the current economic climate."