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Meeting the budget challenge

Residents and organisations in West Lancashire are being invited to give their views on the Borough Council’s proposals for savings, efficiencies and increases in income totalling more than £750,000 in the General Revenue Budget.

Service users and residents, along with local organisations and businesses, can give their views through the council website www.westlancs.gov.uk/yourviews. Comments can also be submitted by letter and email.

The closing date is 4 September and the Council will make final decisions in October for implementation in 2017/18.

The main proposals are:

  • Introducing an annual charge of £30 to collect garden waste
  • Ceasing garden waste collections during the winter
  • Modest reductions in the number of CCTV cameras in areas with lower crime rates and in live monitoring in off peak periods
  • A review of street cleaning work
  • A new approach to public toilets provision

Cllr Chris Wynn, portfolio holder for finance, said: “It is important that people take the opportunity to give their views on these proposals so the Council can take them into account before final decisions are made. Earlier this year we carried out a survey to gather views on spending priorities and satisfaction with services, and these proposals have been informed by those results.”

The Council is seeking views from individuals and organisations and is working with West Lancashire CVS to contact local voluntary and community groups, businesses, and other organisations to invite them to take part. However, it is stressed that the consultation is open to all. Any organisation can complete the survey and all residents can take part. Paper copies of the surveys can be provided if requested.

Council tenants are also being consulted on over £6 million savings between 2017/18 and 2019/20.

Further information

For 2017/18, the Council needs to save around £1.44 million from the general revenue budget. Measures totalling around £570,000 that will not impact on residents have already been identified, including increased income from fees; renegotiating of a transport contract; ceasing provision of broadband to councillors’ homes; and ensuring that we get all the income due from council tax and business rates.

Over the last seven years, the Council has reduced its annual budget requirement by well over 30%, primarily as a result of reductions in government funding.

Some of the main measures were savings of over £500,000 per year through a partnership agreement with Lancashire County Council and BT Lancashire Services for the delivery of Revenues, Benefits and IT services; and budget streamlining savings of £645,000 to reduce costs by efficiencies without affecting services.

Last year the Council consulted residents and local organisations about efficiencies, income increases and savings as part of a package of measures worth £1.7m. These are now being implemented, and include:

  • Staff savings of almost £175,000 primarily from a restructure of senior management
  • Streamlining spending across all service areas by around £220,000
  • Increasing income from planning fees, street naming, rents from commercial properties, solar panels and council tax.

Overall, the Council will have to find £3.5 million savings per year by 2019-20, which is equivalent to around 15% to 20% of the budget.

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