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We are focussed on our budget and how we might overcome funding shortfall

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Column by Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

It’s incredible to think that we’re already approaching the end of 2021, I’m not sure where the year has gone!

This is the time of year when, at the council, we start to set our budget for the next financial year. Over the summer, our senior managers have reviewed what additional costs we’re expecting and where we might be able to make savings, to make a first financial plan.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Martin Hill. (47424994)
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Councillor Martin Hill. (47424994)

At the moment, we are looking at a budget shortfall in each of the next four financial years. In his Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £4.8bn of funding for local government over the next three years.

Although we have not yet received the details of this year’s settlement, we anticipate any additional money will be easily swallowed up by these additional costs.

It was deeply disappointing last year that the government cut our highways funding by 25 per cent. We took the decision to fund this £12m shortfall from our own reserves, but we will continue to push for this to be reinstated by government, given the importance our residents place on well-maintained roads.

With the budget shortfall we are facing in the coming years, we will not be able to allocate this money in future.

Despite the challenges we face, we will maintain our culture of strong financial management and keep our council tax and costs as low as we can.

And with winter upon us, it is important we all remember that the Covid pandemic is not over. We are now entering a critical phase of the year as cold and flu bugs lurk while Covid is still circulating.

The Covid vaccine continues to keep the majority of people out of hospital with serious illnesses. This applies to the annual flu vaccine too.

The best way to keep yourself and those around you safe from infections is to receive your vaccinations when they are offered and to continue to follow the guidance.

Hopefully as we can enter the last part of the year in good health!

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