Lancaster City Council approves its 2018/19 budget

Lancaster City Council has set its budget for 2018/19, with a focus on a wide-ranging programme of investment to ensure the district thrives as a vibrant regional centre.

Despite net spending reducing by around £7M in the last eight years, the city council has been able to maintain financial stability, support investment in priority services, while demonstrating value for money.

The budget also includes a number of innovative ways to generate income so the council is in a position to progress major regeneration projects and maintain services.

Notable examples include the business case development for a solar farm, the clearance of land jointly owned with Lancashire County Council at Heysham Gateway for industrial use, expansion of the facilities at Williamson Park, and modernising the waste collection service.

Economic development also features heavily in the budget, with proposed investment to improve the visitor economy, increase business startā€ups, grow existing businesses and open up the district to new national and international trading opportunities.

A budget of £30,000 has also been set aside to implement recommendations on reducing the use of plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups.

There are also plans to capture local procurement benefits for the district by working with local public institutions, local businesses and communities.

Coun Anne Whitehead, Cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “In simple terms the main challenge of budget setting is to match priorities against what is affordable financially. 
“But in reality it is much more than that – it’s about how the city council is able to realise its vision of putting the district on the map and making it an even better place to live, work and visit. 

“Against this are the very real challenges posed by having to do more for less. 

“Since 2010 our net spending has reduced by 30% - that’s a huge amount and to steer the council through these financially turbulent times has required real financial discipline.

“Although there are still many uncertainties ahead - not least the impact of Brexit - we are in a position where we can invest for the future in projects that will have real long-term positive impact on the district.”

To help protect services in the future the city council’s portion of Council Tax will rise by 2.99%.  

In real terms this means households will pay an average (based on a Band D property) of an extra £6.40 or so a year – or 12p a week – to the city council from April 2018. 

As 80% of the district's homes are in the lowest bands (A to C) the actual increase will be even lower than 12p a week for the majority of households.

Low paid households who receive full Council Tax benefit will not be affected by the small increase.  The council has previously agreed that its new local Council Tax support scheme will maintain benefits at current levels.

While as the billing authority Lancaster City Council collects Council Tax, it only receives around 13% of the total bill to spend on its services.

Excluding parishes, of the remaining bill, the majority goes to Lancashire County Council (73%), with precepts from Lancashire Police Authority (10%) and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (4%) making up the rest.

Last updated: 01 March 2018