Lancashire County Council, Financial Report presented to the Cabinet Committee (14th June 2018), showed a revenue budget deficit of £58.890 million, which had to be draw out of the reserves.
If this were to continue it would result in a forecast funding gap of £144m by 2021/22.
At which point the Lancashire county Council would be bankrupt and the government would have to send in the inspectors similar to what happened in to the Conservative run Northamptonshire County Council.
So far despite promises by the current administration no plan has been put forward to significantly alter these financial outcomes identified by officers.
In the meeting Cllr John Fillis, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, posed the question to the Conservative Leader. “Taking into consideration that the Conservative administration agreed at the Full Council Meeting (24th May 2018) to work with Pendle Borough Council to look to establish a new Unitary Authority for Pennine Lancashire. Does this mean that the administration proposes to crash and burn Lancashire Services in order to make way for unitary councils?”
(Motion Agreed by the Conservative Administration Resolved: – That:
This Council notes the recent election of a new Conservative administration on Pendle Borough Council and that this administration was elected on a manifesto pledge to:
Look to establish a new Unitary Authority for Pennine Lancashire, this would ensure decisions on areas such as Highways, Education and Social Care are taken by one Council, closer to home.
Council welcomes the new administration of Pendle Borough Council and notes discussions on Unitary Authority status will shortly be held across all parties in East Lancashire.
Council therefore resolves to await the outcome of these discussions and any firm proposals being put forward for consideration.)
In his response Cllr Driver failed to answer the question. Cllr John Fillis, again asked for a response and Cllr Driver was not prepared to speak further or address the question.
Cllr John Fillis, said. “It was clear in the full council meeting that all the conservative councillors fully support the establishment of a Unitary Authority for Pennine Lancashire. Even the Minister for the North, Jake Berry MP, appearance at the Full Council Meeting added weight to their decision.”
“Under the current financial circumstance of the council going bust by 2021. Such action would seriously damage the future if any of Lancashire County Council and would cost local people allot more than this year’s increase in their council tax of 6%.”
“The people want service they and their community can rely on at a fair price. Not a Conservative merry go round, they should come clean tell people what they are planning.”