£143m cut to council budget is confirmed

Protesting against the cuts at County Hall, Preston
Protesting against the cuts at County Hall, Preston

Millions of pounds worth of cuts to young people’s services and support for the elderly form part of Lancashire County Council’s new budget agreement.

A total management restructure and a review of the county council’s offices and accommodation are also in the pipeline as the council looks to identify £300m of savings over the next four years.

Councillors agreed on £142m worth of these savings at a full council meeting last week.

Each of the council’s departments is facing a 10 per cent reduction in its budgets called the “10 per cent challenge”, totalling £19m, on top of specific savings identified across all departments.

These include reducing the cost of being in business (£25m), and reshaping the way services are delivered.

The Young People’s Service core budget will be reduced by £3m to £9m over the next three financial years; resulting in a complete restructuring of the service.

There will also be a £4m reduction in the “Supporting People” budget, which assists people to live as independently as possible.

The range of services include supported and sheltered housing, alarm services for elderly people, home improvement agencies for older people and ‘floating support’ where workers visit people in their own homes.

Savings of £12m will come from Learning Disability Remodelling Supported Living and £11m from the integration of health and care services in Lancashire.

A complete management restructure, resulting in a reduction in the number of managers, will result in a £5m saving, while the county council is currently carrying out a review of all of its accommodation with a view to saving money by rationalising buildings.

Savings will come from selling unneeded properties and concentrating more staff in fewer buildings. Under the new budget, the county council will spend £758.31 milion in the financial year 2014/15 and its element of council tax will rise by 1.99 per cent.