A BUDGET that will freeze council tax while delivering a one-off £50m. investment in local initiatives has been approved by Lancashire County Council.
The budget also outlines more than £400m. in capital investment over the next three years.
In February 2011, the county council took the unprecedented step of delivering a three-year budget strategy, for 2011 to 2014, to reduce the council’s spending by 25% overall. This three-year approach provided a stable budget in a difficult financial environment and longer-term clarity on the necessary savings.
The latest budget updates that strategy to reflect changes affecting the council’s financial position.
County Coun. Geoff Driver, leader of the county council, said: “Last year we took the bold decision to identify how we would make the required savings over the three years ahead, rather than approving a budget for one year, which would have seen us having to find more savings now.
“The long-term approach is paying off and there has been excellent progress. The costs of management and administration have been reduced faster than expected, which has enabled us to reinvest some of those savings back into priority areas.
“We have sought to protect services for the most vulnerable people. Where services have less money to spend, we are striving not just to reduce costs but to do things differently, so that the quality of service is maintained or even improved wherever possible.
“This year’s budget is unique among councils nationally in containing massive new investment worth £50m. at a time when most councils are announcing more cutbacks. This is a result of the county council’s outstanding financial management and I’m delighted that we will be investing this money in a way that will create a lasting legacy for the people of Lancashire.
“Our plans have a strong emphasis on revitalising the local economy and supporting children and young people; measures we believe will have a lasting positive impact on the prosperity of the county and the people who live here.”