Council plans charges hike despite £1.1m underspend

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CITY councillors will next week decide whether to press ahead with increases in charges for parking, pest control and burial services. which could rake in an extra £267,200.

Lancaster City Council expects to underspend its budget by £1.12m in 2010/11, but the rises are being recommended by council chiefs because government cuts are looming as the coalition bids to slash the public deficit.

The underspend is mainly due to savings of £410,000 on waste collection, £215,000 on subsidies for free bus travel for over-60s and £191,000 on a senior management restructure which has resulted in several leading officers leaving the authority.

But the council faces a £2m cut in its main government grant for 2011/12.

And while it is expecting to have received £8.8m in fees and charges by the end of the current financial year, it is budgeting to receive £371,000 less in 2011/12 due to falling demand.

See the Lancaster Guardian (14-01-11) for full story.