A council has underspent nearly £30 million in an attempt to future proof its services in light of the expected increase in the cost of living.

Members of the Lancashire County Council's cabinet heard that at the end of the financial year in April, the council had an underspend of £29.9m from a budget of £881.4million.

The underspend was as a result of an "exceptional" year due to the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on council services.

The council also received a number of one-off grants from central Government as part of the Covid response which it has used to support services.

The underspend has meant that further investment has been possible in a number of areas, including a computer system for schools, extra money towards energy costs and repaying a substantial loan, which will save on future interest payments, as well as funding to meet the needs of future services.

The amount of money now in reserves stands at £215.7m, although savings are still needed to ensure the authority is able to balance its books by 2024/25, when a funding gap is expected.

Deputy leader, Cllr Alan Vincent, said: “We have been planning for some time to ensure we are ready for the increases in the cost of living which everyone is experiencing.

“Thankfully we are actually better prepared than many other similar local authorities as we have a healthy amount in reserves, which we have also just been able to add to.

“We are always conscious of getting the best value for our residents, as well as ensuring we providing the best services possible, especially for those most in need.”