Posted by: westlancashirerecord | February 8, 2018

LCC 5.99% Council Tax Budget Approved, Senior Council Staff Rises Deferred

Lancashire County Council  has approved its budget for 2018/19. As part of the budget, Full Council agreed that Council Tax should be increased by 2.99% plus a 3% increase specifically for adult social care. The budget has been designed to protect front-line services, especially for vulnerable members of society.

This will be done by future-proofing improvements to critical services for the most in need in our communities. A number of savings were identified as part of the process and consultations will now take place where service users could be affected.

The Leader of Lancashire County Council said “The council is committed to providing the best services it can to the people of Lancashire, particular to the most vulnerable in our communities. However the council’s financial position remains extremely challenging, with a forecasted funding gap of £144.084 in 2021/22.

“This has meant that tough decisions have had to be made to balance the books. This is not unique to Lancashire and many other local authorities are also having to make hard choices. I am pleased though that we have been able to make many improvements over the past year, including reopening libraries and supporting bus services in the county.

“The council also plans to spend a further £5m next year on road repairs, something which we know is important to the county’s residents and businesses. We are working very hard with our staff to ensure that we can continue to provide vital services for people, and we have put in an extra £25m for vulnerable adults and children to ensure the safeguarding of those members of society”. 

Meanwhile, a decision on a 2% pay claim made by the union representing council chief executives has been deferred. The National Employers negotiating body yesterday considered the claim made by the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers (Alace). Alace previously cited increasing pressure on chief executives caused by austerity and Brexit as reasons why the most senior officers were due a pay rise. 

In addition to this the employers considered a claim for a pay increase for officers, represented by the GMB and Unison unions, which would be in line with other local government employees. The same claim by craft workers, which carry out housing and buildings maintenance, represented by GMB and Unite was also considered. The decision was taken to defer a decision on all of the above pending the result of unions’ consultations with members on a proposed 2% pay offer for most council employees in December. Both Unison and Unite have recommended that their members reject that offer. A final decision is expected in early April.

LGC research last month found most councils have not factored a proposed 2% pay increase for the majority of staff into their budgets for next year, with many reporting the implementation of a new wage structure will place significant pressure on their finances.

How odd to read that “Brexit” is to blame for pressure on the council chief executives. I blame the Treaty of Paris (1951)…the Treaty of Rome (1957)…the Merger Treaty (1965)…the Single European Act (1986)…the Maastricht Treaty (1992)…the Amsterdam Treaty (1997)…and the Treaty of Lisbon (2007). Not forgetting the amending budgetary treaties of the European Communities in the 1970s amending the Treaty of Rome in respects to powers over the Community budget, all of which combined to create the chaotic EU as it is today.

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