Lancashire

Lancashire council agrees cuts and job creation spending

A budget has been agreed by Lancashire County Council which includes £19m of cuts, a council tax freeze and plans to spend £50m on job creation.

The Conservative-run council voted by 49-24 at County Hall in Preston to approve the budget until 2014.

Geoff Driver, the council leader, claimed there would be "no impact" on front-line services by the new budget.

But Elaine Cotterell, from Lancashire Unison, said: "Front-line services have already been affected."

Mr Driver said: "Any changes are back-office costs or reduced costs of operating what we already do and there will be no impact on the front line."

Job losses

The council plans to spend £50m on youth apprenticeships, schemes to promote business growth and transport improvements.

Mr Driver said £10m saved through management and administration cuts - with 1,500 job losses in the past year - would fund part of this investment.

He said: "The costs of management and administration have been reduced faster than expected, which has enabled us to reinvest some of those savings back into priority areas.

Ms Cotterell, Unison branch secretary, said job losses and budget cuts had had "a detrimental impact on the local economy".

"Day care services for vulnerable adults and youth services are good examples of where there have been reductions in service," she said.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats proposed amendments to the new budget but neither received enough votes.

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