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County Cllr calls on the Chancellor to resist further cuts to council budgets

cllr gibson
Cllr Julie Gibson

“Services are already at breaking point”

County Councillor Julie Gibson the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Development has called on the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to resist further cuts to council budgets and instead provide more money in his Autumn Statement next Thursday. Her call comes after a new survey by the County Councils Network (CCN) revealed that only one in five county authorities are confident they can meet their legal obligation of setting a balanced budget next year. Council leaders say they are worried there will be massive reductions in local services if the chancellor does not spare them from further cuts in Thursday’s Autumn Statement.

Cllr Gibson said: “The report makes very worrying reading with the network predicting that County Councils could face a combined £820m funding gap in 2023/2024. Just last week we saw Lancashire County Council approve a package of £84million of cuts. Figures in the CCN report state that Lancashire could face a potential funding gap of £87million by the end of 2023/2024 with the possibility that this will increase to £160million by 2026/2027.”

She continued “Many councils are reporting they will have little choice but to cut back on growth related activity. Almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents said it was ‘likely or very likely’ that they will pause or cancel some economic growth and major road projects as well as routine road maintenance. Lancashire County Council recently released its Economic Strategy for 2023-2025, including within it a £20billion pipeline of projects; I hope these projects are not now at risk and I repeat to the Government at a time when we are facing a major recession, we need investment in Lancashire to continue.”

Cllr Gibson said: “The next two years will be some of the most challenging for councils. After a decade of austerity and with inflation soaring if the Chancellor does not spare councils from further cuts and provide more funding for local authorities then everything is on the table when considering which vital services to cut. The people of Lancashire have suffered enough; I urge the Chancellor to remember the vital role the Councils play in supporting them and resist the urge to slash our budgets further.”

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