Lancashire County Council announce council tax rise and set new budget

Posted on - 14th February, 2021 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News
Lancashire County Council Hall
Lancashire County Council’s offices in County Hall, Preston. Pic: Stephen McKay

Lancashire County Council have announced that council tax will increase by 3.99% to fund an extra £17million to be spent on roads, flood defences and walking and cycling schemes by Lancashire County Council after the authority set its’ budget for the coming financial year.


The council will also invest £400,000 in youth workers, increase the money it spends on library materials by £500,000 and spend £496,000 on its’ Environment and Climate Change programme.

A further £50,000 will also be spent on developing web pages for the county council’s museums so they are more interactive for visitors.

The Council Tax increase of 3.99 per cent is less than the expected 4.99 per cent, to lessen the financial impact on the tax payer. Other increases in council tax bills are set by district councils, such as Preston City Council.

Geoff Driver retained his Preston North seat and is leader of the Lancashire Conservatives
Geoff Driver

County Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, Leader of the County Council, said: “Four years ago we faced a deficit of £200m and expected to have to rely heavily on reserves.

“However thanks to the careful management of the council’s finances over recent years we are in a much improved position and have done a lot of work to help balance the books.

“Despite the uncertainty of the on-going Covid-19 pandemic the council’s finances do have a generally positive outlook, although planned savings over coming years will still be needed.

“Our careful planning has meant that this coming financial year we do not need to increase Council Tax by the expected amount, helping to reduce some of the burden on the tax payer.

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“We will also be able to spend an extra £10million on the county’s road network, as well as an additional £5million on flood defences.

“A further £2million will be spent on walking and cycle schemes, which given how people’s lifestyles have changed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, is very timely and also good for the environment.

“The County Council will also be investing a significant amount in a new approach to environment and climate matters, including carbon reduction, tree planting, peatland restoration and improvement to air quality management.

“I’m particularly pleased to announce that there will be a significant investment in youth workers of £400,000 to help the county’s young people, as well as an increased investment in the book fund for libraries.
“Finally improvements to web pages for our museums will enable them to showcase some of the amazing history we preserve for the people of Lancashire.

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“This budget has shown we are now on a solid and sustainable financial base, and have the opportunity to invest in important council services for the benefit of residents.

“It also means we will continue to ensure that the most vulnerable are able to receive our support when they need it.”

Cllr Driver has also confirmed he will not be seeking re-election at May’s local elections.

The Lancashire Labour Group have rebutted the tax increase by saying that they do not agree with the rate of the tax inflation.

Labour had originally proposed an increase of 1.99%, which was voted against.

Cllr Azhar Ali, Labour Group Leader, said “This is a very difficult time for everyone. Unfortunately many people in Lancashire, through no fault of their own, have been to work their way through it. While many more face a very uncertain future due to their job prospects.”

“We recognise that many local people have been struggling to make ends meet, you only have to look at the increasing numbers of people having to access food banks across Lancashire to see this is true.

“What they don’t need at this time is a Conservative tax increase of 3.99% that could be the difference between heating and eating for them and their family. People need the time to get back to work when they can and stabilise their finances.

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“They need Lancashire County Council to stand up for them and share that load. Unfortunately the People of Lancashire will be paying more for less services.

“We decided to defer the extra 2.99%, which is actually a Conservative Government Tax imposed on local councils to support social care. There is enough funding within the council coffers to maintain those services.”

Cllr John Fillis, Deputy Labour Leader, said “We have to start now to work with people along the road to recovery. To provide decent jobs across Lancashire by building future infrastructure based on demand. Not only in direct infrastructure works but the thousands of additional jobs that are created by supply and the establishment of new transport links to increase market potential.

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“There are many major infrastructure projects at various stages of development right across Lancashire our job is to get them shovel ready.

“This requires planning and investment and that’s what we will do to generate the Lancashire Economy. This is not the time to dither and delay, we need to make way for the people of Lancashire to build a better future.”

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