Thousands of council job cuts are feared, as local authorities face swingeing budget cuts.

Experts have told Lancashire County Council to expect a 26 per cent budget reduction over three years, equivalent to £180m.

It is thought much of the savings could come from job cuts as jobs are considered the most expensive part of the total budget. The council employs 42,000 people. But more than half of these are employed in education and their funding has been ring fenced.

Early estimates are suggesting savings of up to £3.5m will need to be found from Hyndburn Council's budget.

A spokesperson said the scale of cuts and savings in Hyndburn will not be known until the final grant allocation is announced.

Bosses at County Hall had been gearing up for a savings requirement of around £113m, £67m less than the £180m now projected.

Its total grant allocation from the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review will not be known until December 2.

County council leader Geoff Driver is not ruling out any options.

He said: “We can't plan accurately on the basis of the headline figure as the funding of local councils is complex and we expect some variation on the 26 per cent when the deal is complete.

“We are not happy about the reductions in Government grant but we recognise the serious financial situation and the need to eliminate the structural deficit in the nation's finances.”

Labour borough and county councillor Miles Parkinson is urging LCC to carefully consider just where cuts are being made as he fears disadvantaged areas such as Hyndburn could bear the brunt.

He said: “If LCC follows the same course as the Government, it is not a fair system. It is targeting those who are most vulnerable.”

Cllr Parkinson also fears more pressure could be put on district councils to make savings.

He said: “When services like education are ring fenced, savings need to be found elsewhere and this could put more pressure on district councils to make sure savings of 26 per cent are met.”

Members of the public are encouraged to send their views on what services are needed to or write to the Leader of the Council at County Hall, PO Box 78, Preston, Lancashire, PR1 8XJ.