Lancashire County Council have announced that, after a year of positive progress, the council has been set its first ever billion pound budget.
Yesterday saw a full meeting of the council, with the outcome proving that the current financial outlook is looking generally positive thanks to cautious management. Leaders did, however, say that complacency cannot set in and that hard decisions may still need to be made due to the current financial climate.
The total budget amounted to £1,039.046 million, with adult services set to receive the highest allocation from this at £444.813 million. Children’s social care is due to receive £193.647 million worth of funding, with £163.016 million being spent on highways and transport. One million of the transport budget is also to be used to fix multiple potholes on roads.
A new, bespoke Lancashire Investment Fund is to be established, having an additional £11.8 million committed to it. This fund would help businesses develop, as well as encouraging growth that will support local employment.
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of the County Council, said:
“Looking back at the past year it is really great to see how much the council has achieved and helped improve the lives of people in Lancashire.
“In fact there has been really good progress in so many areas, and I’m delighted to say that thanks to our careful financial management we will again be looking to continue our work to help Lancashire’s residents and businesses thrive.
“Over the past year, we have seen our Children’s and Family Service move from Requires Improvement to Good, the county attract £200 million of Levelling Up funding, including £50 million for the county council’s bid which will bring improvements and opportunities right across East Lancashire, and more than 50,000 businesses supported by the county’s Business Growth Hub.
“We’ve also been working hard on our highways, investing in the ‘Love Clean Streets’ App, rubber roads and other innovative ways to keep Lancashire’s roads moving.
“Our continued investment and focus on Adult Social Care, with a ring fenced 2% increase in funding from council tax, as well more than £193 million being spent on children’s social care, means we can ensure many of most vulnerable residents receive the support they need.
Other boosts include an extra £200,000 to provide support for sustainable transport, £756,000 being allocated to the improvement of cyber security and a £500 increase to the £2,000 local member grants scheme.
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Alan Vincent, said:
“I’m very pleased to say that overall our finances are stable, but I am also realistic and know there is more to do.
“Over the last year we have felt the pressure of rising costs like the rest of county and have worked hard to find ways to reduce these while continuing to deliver much needed services, whilst also providing value for money.
“Our financial management is paying off and with the addition of the government’s financial settlement, we are now in a better position than most local authorities.
“But we must be careful, and maintain the financial strategy that has served us well.
“By taking this considered approach we feel optimistic that later in the later in the year we will be in a position to provide even more support and further investment.”