‘Black hole’ in council finances

Eileen Blamire
Eileen Blamire
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Charges could be introduced for free festivals and events in future, warns the leader of Lancaster City Council.

Eileen Blamire praised the recent Lancaster fireworks display and Light Up Lancaster but said the public and local businesses may have to pay to save them from the axe.

Coun Blamire was speaking as councillors met for initial talks on filling a “black hole” in the council’s finances.

Events and festivals are on a hit-list for possible cuts to help meet a £3.5m shortfall over the next two years.

Coun Blamire said: “We have never considered charging for events before but I’m sure there are ways of doing these things in a more effective way.”

“I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt as to the scale of savings we have to make and over the coming weeks and months every area of the council will come under scrutiny as we look to tackle this huge black hole in our finances.”

Council officers have been asked to draw up a list of ways to save money. These will be debated by councillors before next year’s budget is finalised in March 2014.

Services in line for the chop could include Salt Ayre Sports Centre, community swimming pools at Heysham, Carnforth and Hornby, and Williamson Park butterfly house.