Council spent £1.4 million on agency staff and £245,000 on consultants in past year as deficit balloons to £1.8 million
Council Independents, Our West Lancashire say that Labour have lost control of West Lancashire council’s finances after a budget was only passed with a budget deficit ballooning to £1.8 million.
OWL chairman, Cllr Adrian Owens said, “One of the Labour council leadership’s priorities was to be a financial sustainable council by 2023. Not only have they failed, but the budget deficit is rising by £500,000 to £1.8 million. Residents will see council tax increase by the legal maximum once again, while neighbouring South Ribble proposes a council tax freeze for the 3rd year in a row. South Ribble has successfully shared services with other councils, something that Labour in West Lancashire have completely ignored.”
“When our council has spent £245,000 on consultants in the past year and £1.4 million on agency staff, something is badly wrong. Our auditors have still not signed off accounts from two years ago identifying significant weaknesses. Audit fees have rocketed to £154,000 adding more than 1% to council tax from that fee increase alone.”
“There seems to be little appetite from Labour to identify obvious cost-control measures. Indeed it was Our West Lancashire who identified that heating the council offices to 22°C was indefensible in an energy and climate crisis. Thankfully this idea has been adopted, inspite of Conservative opposition. The council will save taxpayer money and reduce carbon emissions by aiming for a 19°C target in future.”
Councillor Owens concluded, “We have other ideas to help balance the books if Labour would change their approach and talk with other parties. If not, then with Labour in charge, the financial problems in West Lancashire look set to worsen further and cuts to services will be unavoidable.”