Guest columnist: Time to crunch the numbers for new budgets

Coun Pat O'Connor
Coun Pat O'Connor

The various committees of Lincolnshire County Council are examining the areas for which they are responsible in terms of setting the budget for the upcoming new financial year that starts on April 1.

They are working to around a two per cent rise in council tax plus a further two per cent that the Government allows for authorities with adult social care responsibilities.

The adult social care bill is increasing because we are now living longer.

So there are more old folks and the care staffs needed are now paid the national living wage.

The work on the budget by each committee feeds in to a meeting of the county council when the final budget will be announced.

Committees are also considering various matters that have an impact on the residents of the county.

One subject that has been looked at recently is the enforcement of parking restrictions outside schools.

Parents are justifiably concerned that the mixture of large numbers of children and vehicles in such a confined area outside the school gates can be dangerous.

One solution that the highways committee is considering this week is the use of overt CCTV vans to monitor and enforce the zig-zag parking restrictions at the school gates.

However, nothing is that simple in local government and the Department of Transport recently indicated that school keep clear markings could not be enforced by local authorities unless there is an underlying traffic order.

This has meant that officers have had to undertake site surveys and reviews to ascertain what works were needed to ensure that markings and signage comply with the Government’s requirements.

A pilot scheme is being launched outside certain schools in the Grantham, Lincoln, Boston and Sleaford areas.

And hopefully it will not be too long until we see it in Gainsborough.

The council’s health scrutiny committee has replied to the Government Sustainability and Transportation Plan for the NHS in Lincolnshire.

And their conclusion is that they cannot support it in its current form.

Just to give one example, there are assumptions in the plan about average times of travel to access services.

There are parts of Lincolnshire that are poorly served by public transport.

And the average times given do not reflect the difficult journeys that some residents will face in trying to access services.