We raise taxes and cut disability services
LCC Crest “In concilio consilium-In Council is Wisdom”
Not much wisdom around Lancashire as we learn the Conservative majority Lancashire councillors have agreed to raise council tax at the same time as approving £77m of service cuts. The axe is set to fall on household waste recycling centres, welfare advice services, Special Educational Needs and disability services.
Just a few days ago we wrote
“Indeed, why should the public pay for these party activities? Cllr Greenall wants to see special political allowances for the whips and secretaries of the Tory and Labour groups stopped. The Tory whip receives £4,483 and the secretary receives the same. The Labour whip and secretary each receive £2,989. No austerity there then?”
Conservative leader Cllr Driver has said the savings will be implemented later this year, subject to consultation. Labour opposition leader Cllr Azhar Ali said the budget will “sink communities” and “lead to the loss of lives”. The emphasis will be on keeping people at home based on financial cuts by the council not the persons care requirements.
If they are unable to pay for this care they may be unable to access it in the coming financial year. In the 2019/20 budget the Conservative-run Lancashire County Council will be reducing funding available for residential care, looking for cheaper options instead. Over £3million will be removed from the budget for residential care over the next 4 years.
The Lancashire County Council budget will also see council tax rise by 3.99 percent , the maximum allowed without a referendum, adding £52 to the annual bill of a Band D household. Savings options include plans to withdraw a scheme which provides respite for the parents and carers of children with special educational needs and disabilities, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
Cllr Driver said “I can assure councillors and those wishing to let us have their views, that we have sufficient flexibility in the budget to amend it if we are persuaded to do so by the result of the opinions expressed.”
About £6.5m of the savings depend on the outcome of the public consultation, including plans to end the Lancashire Health and Wellbeing Service for those facing health and social issues. The remainder can start to be implemented from April after the council approved the ruling group’s plans on Thursday evening.
People will die
Cllr Ali dubbed the budget as the “Tories’ Valentine’s Day Massacre”. He added “It is a massacre that will lead to more pain for the sick, elderly, disabled and weak. People will die as a result of some of these cuts”.
Cllr Driver said he had proposed the council tax increase with “some reluctance” and added that the authority had to see if it could be more efficient.
Average public sector retiree will be almost three times better off than an equivalent in the private sector
In 2017/18 LCC Cllr O’Toole received £20,159, LCC Cllr Pope received £15,854, LCC Cllr Fillis received £21,736, LCC Cllr Hennessy received £16,601. Cllr O’Toole received a further £7,880 for Lancashire Fire/Rescue membership. Councillors under 75 are eligible to join the Local Government Pension Scheme and have automatic rights to their pension upon reaching 60 years of age. Councillors can access their pension between 50 and 60 with consent. Both the basic and Special Responsibility Allowances are pensionable.
Well, so far as pensions go, a reminder that as one reaches the age of 80, the UK Government enhances the state pension by 25p a week! Don’t spend it all at once!