Lincolnshire County Council agrees council tax increase

Members of Lincolnshire County Council have agreed the budget for the next financial year, which will see the first increase in the council’s share of the council tax for five years.

Councillors voted at a meeting of the full council today (February 20) to put council tax up by 1.9 per cent for the financial year 2015-16. It will remain one of the lowest of all the English county councils.

The authority is facing increased costs, particularly for social care, and faces a £56m budget gap and another tough financial settlement from the Government.

The budget identifies £30m of extra annual savings, as well as drawing on £22m of the council’s reserves to help meet the financial shortfall. The council tax rise will bring in a further £4m.

Executive Councillor for finance and property, Coun Marc Jones, said:“The budget for the next year takes a sensible and pragmatic approach so we can continue providing the best possible services to people in the face of growing demand and further financial uncertainty.

“Through careful housekeeping, we have built reserves up over the years. When times were better we saved for a rainy day. This budget uses some of these funds to meet our financial challenges in the short term, but we can’t be complacent. Our savings can only be spent once.”

Areas where budgets will see little reduction include safeguarding for children and adults, flood risk management, and fire and rescue. These are areas identified by the public as priorities in the budget consultation exercise.