Lancashire County Council confirms council tax rise

County Hall Preston The authority has made £220m of cuts since 2010

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Lancashire County Council has agreed its annual budget, which includes increasing council tax by 1.99%.

The budget, discussed at County Hall, Preston, identifies £142m of the required £300m the council says it needs to save over the next four years.

Before Thursday's meeting, staff staged a protest outside against the cuts the Labour-controlled authority is making.

Deputy leader David Borrow says the council has strived to "find savings which do not affect the front line".

Last month, it was announced the equivalent of 2,500 posts were due to be lost by April 2016.

'Colossal financial challenge'

The council tax move has been backed by the Liberal Democrats, who have been in budget discussions with Labour.

Councillor Borrow said: "We face a colossal financial challenge and have no option but to radically reshape what the council looks like and how it delivers services.

"This isn't what I came into politics for, but we have to act now and take tough decisions to avoid being in a worse position later."

He added: "We have also been listening to the public and have focused on protecting front-line services while becoming more efficient and improving our back office processes."

Councillors have also agreed to appoint Jo Turton as council chief executive. She has been in the role on an interim basis since the departure of Phil Halsall.

The authority, which employs 34,500 people, has already made £220m of cuts since 2010.

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