The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on our budgets as a result of increases in spending on local services and dropping income from sales, fees and charges and commercial activities.
The Government has provided us with financial support for this year and next but the crisis is likely to cast a much longer shadow on our finances as people’s behaviour, working practices and spending patterns in the city continue to change.
In this current difficult financial situation, our financial strategy has been, and will continue to be, to ensure we maintain a sound and sustainable financial position. The key way to do this is by bringing service costs in line with available funding and, alongside this, using our influence and direct investment to create the right conditions for Lincoln’s economy to recover and grow.
We have a track record of delivering savings over the past ten years, with more that £9m of annual savings made. Although there is a significant level of uncertainty about future funding and the medium-term impact of Covid-19, it is currently projected that there will be a further budget gap of £1.750m each year, which the Council must close to ensure it’s financial sustainability. By showing strong financial discipline we are confident that we can rise to the challenge once again. However, as a result of the previous level of savings delivered and a reduced number of alternatives from which to deliver reductions, we have been left with little option but to revert to a more traditional cost cutting measures to deliver the scale of reductions required.
We will have to make some difficult decisions over the next year as we prioritise which services we can afford to continue to deliver while protecting the core services for the people of Lincoln, and allowing for significant investment in the city, its economy, and the delivery of the council’s overall Vision 2025.