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‘We must be business-like’: Lancashire council eyes £77m cuts and 160 job losses to fight deficit

Lancashire County Council has revealed a sweeping new set of savings proposals worth £77m over the next four years, which includes cuts to vulnerable adult and children’s services and a total loss of 164 jobs.

The planned cutbacks include turning off 18,000 of its 100,000 residential street lamps in the middle of the night, as well as more bus lane cameras and on-street pay-and-display parking machines to generate cash.

The county council will vote on the proposals at a special cabinet meeting on 3 December, which will seek to reduce the predicted deficit to £46m by 2022-23.

Board papers released ahead of the upcoming meeting revealed the council will cut the number of care workers attending to elderly and disabled people and that adults with learning disabilities, autism, and mental health needs will be transferred from homes to supported flats.

A total of 164 permanent positions will be lost, although 30 of these are currently vacant, and a Lancashire school holiday day-care for children with disabilities will be scrapped.

Measures to raise revenue include tripling the number of display parking machines in town centres and new bus lane enforcement cameras in a bid to raise £2m a year across the county. Lancashire will also freeze councillors’ allowances and cut meal and travel expenses.

The leader of Lancashire County Council, Geoff Driver, said: “While we are not a business we must be business-like and it is essential we balance the books just like everyone else.

“At the same time our priority is to ensure we protect the most vulnerable people in Lancashire.

“While there are a number of posts which will be lost under these proposals, I promise we will do our absolute best to avoid compulsory redundancy.”

Driver added that there were actually new jobs to be created alongside those lost in the proposals, providing an opportunity for redeployment. “In fact, we have a number of new jobs which will be created under these schemes so there is an opportunity for redeployment and a number of the at-risk posts are currently vacant,” he continued.

The council’s Labour opposition leader, Azhar Ali, warned that cutting a fifth of street lamps would increase crime and that elderly and disabled adults would be put at “serious risk” by the cuts.

Image credit - Geograph

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