HOME -- Champion News19 Oct 2018

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  • West Lancashire Borough Council identify budget gap of £1.1m

    Henry James

    WEST Lancashire Borough Council officers have identified a “significant budget gap” for 2018-19 of £1.1m and have commented that the position is “very challenging.”

    Services could suffer because of this and the council could have to increase fees and charges. They are talking about increasing their section of the final Council Tax bill by 2.6% in 2018/19. The budget will be set by Councillor Adam Yates, the cabinet member for finance.

    The budget gap includes £145,000 to meet the proposed 2% pay increase for most staff and higher increases for the lowest paid staff.

    This issue is to be discussed by cabinet on Tuesday, January 9 and a final decision will be made at the council meeting to be held on February 28.

    The budget gap figure is the difference between the spending that is required to maintain services at agreed level and the resources that are expected to be available.

    West Lancs Council has prepared draft estimates for next year, but they cannot be finalised until the Local Government Finance Settlement has been worked out.

    Officers have said a number of factors need to be looked at, such as:

    · How the remaining budget gap should be addressed taking into account the Local Government Finance Settlement

    · The challenging financial position facing local authorities over the medium term where any budget increases will need to be met by savings elsewhere in the budget

    · The acceptance of budget issues and pressures identified by Heads of Service

    · Changes to fees and charges and the level of the Council Tax

    · Use of current and previous year's favourable budget variances

    · The Council’s Reserves policy.

    The Group leaders and their financial spokespersons looking at various budget options.

    Marc Taylor, the borough treasurer at the council writes in a report for the meeting: “The council currently has a healthy financial position where there is a projected favourable budget variance in the current year.

    “However looking forward there remains a significant budget gap for 2018-19, with further savings required in subsequent years. Consequently the medium term financial picture remains very challenging, and a process will need to be put in place in 2018 to ensure that this position is addressed.”

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