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Preston budget: Councillors to meet to discuss Preston council tax increase and cutbacks

Posted on - 26th February, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council

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Preston’s councillors will meet on Thursday to discuss a proposed rise in council tax.

The Labour administration, led by councillor Peter Rankin, are proposing a 1.99 per cent rise in council tax for the year ahead.

In late January the scale of cutbacks proposed by the city council were revealed.

They outlined how due to reductions in central government funding the city council would need to save £3.6 million over the next three years.

Councillor Martyn Rawlinson, the man in charge of the council’s finance, said no area of council services could be certain of continued funding.

This included a hint that the council’s subsidy of the Guild Hall may not continue beyond 2015.

Peter Rankin said at the time of announcing the proposals: “Yet again, Preston one of the hardest hit councils in the country for the amount cut from its Government grant. After already losing 26% of our budget, we now have to find a further £3.6m by 2017/18.

“We have done everything we can to protect services. We’ve cut back-office services and made the Council much more efficient, but the scale of the cuts we’re facing means that all Council services are going to be affected one way or another.

“Over the next three years, the Council is looking at losing up to 80 posts. We hope to achieve this by not filling vacant posts and through voluntary redundancies where possible. However, given the level of budget cuts we have to make, some compulsory redundancies are possible by 2017/18.”

Now the full budget proposals go before all councillors at a full meeting of the council on Thursday from 4pm at the Town Hall.

The cut backs in the first year to help the council reach its savings target include slashing the budgets of street cleaning, the citizen zone outreach project and not subsidising five PCSOs.

It follows a decision last week by Lancashire County Council to increase its portion of council tax by 1.99 per cent.

Councils across the UK have drawn criticism from local government minister Eric Pickles for proposing an increase just shy of the 2 per cent increase which would trigger a local referendum on the issue and central government intervention.

You can view the full budget proposals on the city council website.

What’s your view? How should the council cut back? Should it? Let us know your views in the comments below

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