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Multi-million budget cuts for Lincolnshire councils

Lincolnshire County Council and City of Lincoln Council are mulling over budget cuts from central government, coming into effect from 2014.

The spending cuts for 2014/15 and 2015/16 were announced this week by Communities Minister Brandon Lewis, affecting councils across the UK.

In Lincolnshire, the overall funding cuts for County Council and City of Lincoln Council comes at a high price.

City Council will see a reduction of 13.7% in 2014/15 compared with this year’s funding, and a further 15.8% in 2015/16 when compared with 2014/15.

Lincolnshire County Council received an overall grant reduction for 14/15 of £20.2m (8.3%), followed by another £31.4m cut in 2015/16 (14%).

However, residents can expect to see their council tax frozen for another two years.

Additionally, Brandon Lewis promised in his statement that councils in rural areas, which includes Lincolnshire County Council, a grant fund of £9.5 million.

Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “We had forecast that a reduction of this size was likely so it is not a surprise, but that doesn’t soften the blow in any way.

“We will continue to work through the detail of the settlement and our draft budget will be released in January 2014.

“A reduction of this size provides us with many challenges but our long-term ambitions for the city remain the same.

“The task gets harder each year but, whatever happens, we will continue to do our best for the people of Lincoln.”

Councillor Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, added: “This is another challenging settlement for the council, but broadly in line with what we were expecting.

“We’ve been pushing the government for further funding for rural counties, and, as a result of our efforts, they have given us an additional £1 million for the year.

“However, overall, our funding will fall by more than 20% during the next two years.

“The government is again offering a grant to authorities wishing to freeze council tax, and this proposal will be included in our provisional budget for next year.”

In his written statement, Communities Minister Brandon Lewis said: “The Autumn Statement ensured that the local government budget is protected next year so that councils can deliver a council tax freeze.

“Councils now have more stability and certainty to plan budgets and move ahead with transforming local services and ongoing efficiency.

“English local government accounts for £1 of every £4 spent on public services, and is expected to spend some £117 billion in 2013-14.

“So the settlement that we are proposing recognises the responsibility of local government to find sensible savings and make better use of its resources.”