Following a meeting of the full Council, West Lancashire Borough Council has agreed its budget for 2021/22, which will enable it to maintain its services in the coming year.
Over the last decade, the Council has seen its budget cut by central government by over 20%, from £16.92m to £13.43m, while demand for its services has increased. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to the financial pressures, with additional services set up to support residents and local businesses during the crisis.
These services have included a ‘Food Hub’ for vulnerable families and those shielding, the West Lancs Together partnership, which helps people access further support, and providing additional accommodation for the homeless.
Despite the financial pressures facing the Council, funds have been agreed for the building of additional social and affordable housing, the refurbishment of Burscough Sports Centre, continued tree planting, improving the Clean & Green service and providing additional financial support through its Financial Inclusion Team and Council Tax Support scheme.
These initiatives will take place alongside other important projects already agreed, such as the development of Skelmersdale Town Centre, which is now underway.
Councillor Adam Yates, Portfolio Holder for Resources & Transformation, said: “This has been a very difficult year for everyone but I am proud of the way in which our officers have responded and the level of support the Council has been able to provide to residents and businesses across the borough.
“We have issued nearly £9m in Council Tax Support to households in financial difficulty, and helped local businesses access nearly £30m in Covid-19 grants. In recognising the difficulties facing local households, we are keeping council tax increases to below 2.5% and I was pleased that this decision received unanimous support at full council.”
“This coming year is going to be extremely difficult financially for thousands of households. We understand the pressures people are facing and our officers are here to help residents as best we can.
“West Lancashire Borough Council, like local authorities throughout Lancashire and the North West, is going to be under extreme financial pressure but we will keep working to deliver improvements to maintain our services and ensure that the most vulnerable are supported for as long as this crisis continues.”
If residents are having financial difficulties due to Covid-19, they can contact West Lancs Together via the page on our website at www.westlancs.gov.uk, or by calling our free helpline on 0800 616 667, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.