Council leader wants to see some services maintained at the current level
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Cllr Martin Hill is proposing to keep funding at the current level for subsidised buses, winter gritting and children’s centres for the next two years. A motion is being put forward for debate at a meeting of all county councillors to decide the authority’s budget for next year.
Original budget proposals put forward reductions in spending in these areas for 2016/17, which is likely to have meant:
- reducing road gritting from 33% of the network to 25%;
- stopping funding to commercial bus operators of around £2.2m which subsidises around 25% of Lincolnshire’s bus routes, mainly in rural areas;
- the closure of 15 children’s centres.
Cllr Marc Jones, executive councillor for finance who will second the motion, said: “We have carried out extensive consultation on our budget proposals where the public have shown that they understand the difficult financial decisions we are facing and have given a clear steer of where they believe our priorities should be. Lincolnshire residents have elected us to represent their views, and we have carefully considered all the feedback that we have had.
“After much lobbying by ourselves and county MPs, our final financial settlement from the Government gave us some one-off additional funding – around £5.2m for the next financial year and £2.6m for the year after.
“That’s why we are proposing this motion at Full Council recognising that whilst the majority of the proposed savings would still go ahead, it is right that we use the additional funding, to reduce some of the service cuts we have to make, in areas the public have told us they really value.
“Although this is good news in the short-term, we are still faced with an incredibly tough challenge of finding a further £30m in savings in 2017/18 having already cut our budget by £42m for 2016/17.”
The full motion was debated and passed by Lincolnshire Council on February 19th.