Huge cuts to Lancashire County Council services announced

Funding cut: Queen Street Mill in Harle Syke.
Funding cut: Queen Street Mill in Harle Syke.
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Hundreds of public sector workers will lose their jobs, rural bus services will cease to exist and libraries and museums will close under county council plans to tackle its multi-million pound funding gap.

Budget proposals announced today provide details of how Lancashire County Council plans to save £65m over the next two years, which would result in the loss of the equivalent of an estimated 367 full-time jobs.

Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council said the council faced “relentless central government cuts” against a backdrop of rising demand for services.

Proposals that will go before the Cabinet on Thursday November 26 include:

* Removing funding for all subsidised bus services, to save £7.5m per year

* Reducing the county council’s library network from 74 libraries to 34, to save £7m

* Ending the funding of five museums: Queen Street Mill, Helmshore, Museum of Lancashire, Judges’ Lodgings, Fleetwood Museum

* Removing the subsidy for discretionary denominational transport

* Reducing the Highways budget by £2.8m

Reducing the priority gritting network by 10 per cent and scrapping the secondary gritting network.

The job losses would be in addition to the 1,100 staff who have already left the authority, having taken voluntary redundancy since January 2014.

At the same time the council will be continuing work on delivering the remaining savings identified last year, adding up to a further saving of almost £148m over the period 2015/16 to 2017/18 and a further reduction of more than 500 full-time equivalent posts.

The proposals follow the announcement in August that the council will need to save an additional £262m by April 2020, to tackle a funding gap caused by reduced government funding and rising demand for services.

The savings come on top of £152m savings announced in the three year budget agreed in February this year.

The additional savings mean that between 2011 and 2020 the council will have to have delivered savings of £685m.