Council set to use additional £7.8 million to ‘reduce cuts’ to gritting, buses and children’s centres

Lincolnshire County Council news.

Lincolnshire County Council news.

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Cuts to gritting, buses and children’s centres could be reduced after county council leaders have suggested an extra £7.8 million could be put towards them over the next two years.

Central Government has reportedly given Lincolnshire County Council the additional funding consisting of £5.2 million for the next financial year and £2.6 million for the year after.

The extra funding has lead to council leader Coun Martin Hill putting forward a motion to Full Council on Friday where he proposes to ‘keep funding at the current level for subsidised buses, winter gritting and children’s centres for the next two years.’

The original budget proposals, which are being put forward at the meeting, included suggestions gritting could be reduced to cover only 25 per cent of the county’s network rather than the original 33 per cent, while £2.2 million savings were planned through the ending of subsidised bus routes in rural areas.

Proposals also included the closure of 15 children’s centres.

Cllr Marc Jones, executive councillor for finance who will second the motion, said: “We have carried out extensive consultation on our budget proposals where the public have shown that they understand the difficult financial decisions we are facing and have given a clear steer of where they believe our priorities should be. Lincolnshire residents have elected us to represent their views, and we have carefully considered all the feedback that we have had.”

Mr Jones attributed the final financial settlement, which includes the ‘one-off’ additional funding, to lobbying by the council and county MPs.

He added: “That’s why we are proposing this motion at Full Council recognising that whilst the majority of the proposed savings would still go ahead, it is right that we use the additional funding, to reduce some of the service cuts we have to make, in areas the public have told us they really value.

“Although this is good news in the short-term, we are still faced with an incredibly tough challenge of finding a further £30m in savings in 2017/18 having already cut our budget by £42m for 2016/17.”

The full motion will be debated on Friday before a final decision on the council’s budget is taken.