Lancashire County Council approves further £7m of cuts to services

image captionMr Driver said it was "imperative" the council made "the necessary savings to secure a sustainable future"

Lancashire County Council has approved further budget cuts of £7m as part of its attempt to save £442m by 2021.

The Tory-led council's plans include closing transport information centres in Clitheroe, Preston, Carnforth and Nelson and reducing its advocacy service, which helps vulnerable people.

It will also halve its street light maintenance across the county and its "extra care" accommodation schemes.

The council's Labour group leader Azhar Ali said cuts were "self-defeating".

He added that they "targeted the elderly, sick and those with mental health problems" and simply "transfer the problem to already bursting-at-the-seams A&E departments and the NHS".

'Necessary savings'

A council spokesman said the authority needed to make savings of £60m in 2018/19, followed by £25m, £53m and £18m in subsequent years, which added up to an aggregated funding gap of £442m by 2021/22.

Council leader Geoff Driver said the plans, part of an agreed £58m first phase of savings, were "imperative".

The plans, which Mr Driver said would help deal with the council's "extremely serious financial challenges", will also see the funding of county council staff at Morecambe Visitor Centre cut and a grant scheme for the community and faith sectors pulled from 2018.

The council leader said the authority "know we will face a funding gap in 2021/22 and that we will have spent the county council's available reserves within the next two years".

He added that the council has made "the necessary savings to secure a sustainable future... and the vital services our most vulnerable residents rely on".

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