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We have been fighting for fairer funding and spending review will help us plan for future, says Lincolnshire County Council leader

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Column by the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Martin Hill

At the end of this month, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is due to unveil his comprehensive spending review and autumn budget.

While we won’t discover exactly how much will be allocated to Lincolnshire, we are expecting to get a good idea of the headline figures.

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

This will give us all a better understanding of the Government’s spending plans for the country, but also at a more local level. As a council, it will help us to know what funding we might expect from central government for next year and possibly beyond.

It’s safe to say that most councils are expecting a tough settlement this time. This would be frustrating as we have been fighting for a fairer deal for Lincolnshire for a number of years – recognising that services are more expensive to deliver in rural areas and costs and demand are increasing.

I think we all understand the reasons for the government proceeding with caution, after the unprecedented financial times as we’ve negotiated our path through the covid pandemic.

However, council services have been so vital through this time and we would hope that funding in critical areas like adult care, would be at least maintained but ideally enhanced.

Last year we were very concerned that government funding for highways maintenance was cut by 25 per cent and we will be pushing for that to be reinstated this year.

It’s right that when road-users are taxed by central government, road maintenance is then funded nationally. Last year we took the decision to make up the £12m deficit from our own council reserves in Lincolnshire but clearly our reserves can only be spent once.

The government will of course be faced with decisions on spending for many other departments and has already indicated that additional funds for the NHS will be raised through an increase in National Insurance.

Residents in Lincolnshire deserve to have the same level of service as other parts of the country, and this has featured heavily in the government’s ‘levelling up’ discussions.

The NHS is no exception, and after years of a ‘temporary’ change to accident and emergency services at our local hospital in Grantham, there is now a public consultation exercise underway as to future services at this site and across Lincolnshire.

This 12-week public consultation runs from September 30 to December 23 and will enable people from across the county to have their say.

I would urge all residents to take part in this consultation, because, together, we can all make a difference: https://www.lincolnshire.nhs.uk

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