County hall are preparing to vote on the highest council tax increase for a decade which could see residents bills rise by at least £48.
Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) cabinet have put forward a proposed hike of 5.99 per cent for 2018/19 which would see costs for Band A properties rise by £48.78 a year, and ‘average’ Band D properties soar by £73.
Of that, three percent would be to pay for adult social care. And the total increase is predicted to be even higher, with Hyndburn council yet to reveal how much they intend to increase their charges.
But it’s possible that Band A residents could pay around £70 more a year as local authorities and emergency services attempt to meet funding shortfalls.
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw is also consulting on dramatically hiking his own portion of the precept - and is asking whether people would be prepared to pay up to £20 more a year to protect the county’s thin blue line. Residents would pay a minimum of £2.07 extra if he opts for the lowest charge.
Lancashire Fire has not confirmed how much their precept will go up by, but their budget booklet predicts a 3.3 per cent rise in 2018/19, equivalent to an extra £2.16 for Band D residents, up from £65.50.
A report to cabinet setting out the budget proposals by Angie Ridgwell, Interim Chief Executive and Director of Resources, states: “Like all councils, Lancashire County Council is facing significant financial pressures, and while good progress has been made in addressing the forecast financial shortfall over the strategy period, further work is required to ensure the council can achieve a financially sustainable position.
“Overall, the council has an appropriate level of reserves available to manage the financial risks it is facing in 2018/19, but this is highly unlikely to be the case in future years. It is critical that a significant level of additional savings are identified to be delivered and fully implemented by 2020/21 to bring the council to a financially sustainable position.”
The cabinet voted to recommend the rise to full council, who will vote on whether to approve it at the next meeting on Thursday, February 8. By 2021/22 LCC predicts it will have a financial deficit of £144.49 million and a cumulative deficit of £381.79 million, even after allowing for savings of £135 million.