'SAVAGE' proposed council cuts will 'absolutely hammer' the poorest and most vulnerable, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr Azhar Ali, leader of the Labour group on Lancashire County Council, said plans to cut more than £11m from its budget would be 'devastating'.

But County Hall bosses said its financial position remains 'extremely challenging' and that it was necessary to 'balance the books'.

Planned cuts include £1.25m from children and family wellbeing services, and cutting £1.026m from the budget for learning, disability and autism residential reviews.

Other savings could see £280,000 cut from library book and e and audio book funding and nearly £400,000 from community transport services.

There are also proposals to increase charges for elderly and disabled NoW card holders which would see concessionary fares for those travelling by bus before 9.30am doubled from 50p to £1 - saving £87,000.

Cllr Ali said: "The Tories and Lancashire County Council are absolutely hammering the sick, disabled, young and the elderly with devastating, savage cuts, which will mean that people's safety is compromised.

"It will also mean that more people end up lonely and isolated.

"This will mean more pressures on the NHS, which is already at breaking point.

"The hypocrisy of the council on the one hand is to re-open libraries as a pet project, and then they propose to cut thousands from library books.

"They've totally lost the plot."

Politicians from across East Lancashire have been reacting to the plans.

Ken Hind, Conservative leader of Ribble Valley Council, said: "I am deeply concerned about any proposed cuts made to council services which impact on the people of the Ribble Valley."

Graham Jones, Hyndburn's Labour MP, said: "There are more cuts to come this year, next year and the year after.

"The Tories at County Hall are making a mess of running things and are making more cuts than Labour had planned.

"The cuts have been devastating for Hyndburn which has a big problem with potholes and the elderly not getting looked after.”

Julie Cooper, Burnley's Labour MP, said: "It's absolutely outrageous that the government continues to cut the grant that councils like Lancashire receive.

"I am totally against these cuts."

Liberal Democrat group leader, Cllr David Whipp, blamed a reduction in the revenue grant support the council receives from central government.

Cllr Whipp said: "The cut in the revenue support grant received from central government will only leave Lancashire County Council and all councils with less money, and having to make massive cuts."

The council's cabinet is set to consider the further cuts package when it meets next week.

Council chiefs said the cuts have been proposed following a 'detailed review' of service budgets.

If approved, more than £81m of savings would have been identified during this financial year.

The authority said it has a forecasted funding gap of £144.492m in 2021/22, with the funding gap for 2018/19 predicted as £48.886m.

But Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said the authority is working to 'protect frontline services', especially for safeguarding children and other vulnerable members of society.

He said: "In common with every council in the country we are having to make difficult decisions about how we use our resources while ensuring the books are balanced.

"We are absolutely committed to funding the services that we know people value.

"We have done that with our programme of reopening libraries, investing in good quality roads, and supporting bus services across the county.

"However the county council's financial situation is very challenging and one of our key priorities is to create a more financially stable council that will enable us to future-proof our improvements to critical services for the most vulnerable in our communities.

"These proposals have identified significant savings all of which will now be carefully considered by cabinet.

"Going forward we will need to make more savings but we are working hard to protect front-line services especially for safeguarding children and other vulnerable members of society."