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Lancaster City Council sets its 2024/25 budget

Protecting essential services while setting a strong financial foundation for the future are at the heart of Lancaster City Council’s budget for 2024/25, which was agreed on Wednesday (February 28).

At the same time residents will see a below inflation rise of 2.99% in the city council’s portion of council tax, which at just 11% of the overall bill has fallen in comparison with the other authorities that receive a share.

Like many local authorities, the city council is battling against unprecedented pressures of steep increases in its operating costs, along with higher interest rates, and below-inflation funding from the Government. Increasing demand for services, particularly temporary accommodation to support homeless residents, is also impacting on the council’s finances.

Following months of hard work by officers and councillors, a balanced budget has been achieved for 2024/25. To aid financial resilience, £1.9m has been transferred to reserves due to a forecasted increase in business rates income.

Council tax, the council’s primary source of funding, will increase by a below-inflation 2.99%, an average of £7.45 a year, or 14p a week, for a Band D property.

As 80% of the district's homes are in the lowest bands (A to C) the actual increase will be lower for most households.

Councillor Tim Hamilton-Cox, cabinet member with responsibility for finance, said: “I’m proud that after months of hard work we’ve been able to achieve a balanced budget.

“Not only does this maintain funding stability for our external partners, we’ve been able to effect a transfer to our reserves in order to rebuild financial resilience against substantial future cost and income pressures.

“In two years’ time we’re projecting a budget deficit of £4.5m so these reserves will be important to ensure financial stability.

“The transfer to reserves has to be set against £1.412m now committed to effect the clean-up at the former power station on Lune Industrial Estate.”

Councillor Phillip Black, leader of Lancaster City Council, said: “As with all public services, the city council is under pressure financially and needs to protect the vital services it provides for the community.

“With those significant challenges in mind I am proud that we have delivered a balanced budget, maintained the quality of our services, and ensured that we can continue to support investment in the future of our fabulous district through transformational projects such as Eden Project Morecambe and the Canal Quarter.”

While the city council sets and controls around 11% of the total Council Tax bill paid by residents. The remainder is controlled by Lancashire County Council (73%), Lancashire Police Authority (12%) and Lancashire Combined Fire Authority (4%), which have increased their precepts as follows:

  • Lancashire County Council: 4.99%
  • Lancashire Police Authority: 4.75%
  • Lancashire Combined Fire Authority: 2.99%

In addition, residents living in areas with a parish council pay an additional precept to their parish council.

The council has already agreed to continue 100% council tax support for those on the lowest incomes and most affected by the cost of living crisis, one of the few local authorities in England to do so.

Last updated: 04 March 2024

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