LIVERPOOL City Council has started a consultation on its budget savings for the next financial year.
The city council already has £436 million less to spend each year in real terms than it did in 2010 – equivalent to a 63 per cent cut – due to reductions in funding from central government.
Through a combination of considerable effort, Government lobbying and invest to earn schemes the council has been able to significantly reduce the amount it needs to find from frontline services by around half, down from £57.6 million to £30 million.
This is due to:
- Improved business rates and council tax income for 2020/21 as a result of the city’s economic growth and the number of new homes built – both key planks of Mayor Joe Anderson’s Invest to Earn strategy
- Reduced contributions of £15 million to the Merseyside Pension Fund for 2020/21 because the council has negotiated to pay in less as its investments have performed better than expected
- Additional Government funding of £10 million for adult social care, which was only confirmed just before Christmas following the general election
The proposals would see the books balanced through a mix of cutting the costs of services, reducing demand and increasing income.
It assumes a council tax rise of 3.99 per cent, which will raise an extra £7.2 million compared to 2019/20.
This is made up of 1.99 per cent for general spending and two per cent which is ring fenced for adult social care.
The budget options are the subject of public consultation for 28 days and can be viewed at www.liverpool.gov.uk/budget2020
No decisions have been made as yet, and final decisions will not be taken until all consultation responses have been fully considered.
In addition, some of the options will be subject to a further detailed consultation with the public and appropriate stakeholders before a decision is made on whether to implement them.
Members of the public can also write, with any comments on the budget options, to: Director of Finance and Resources, Liverpool City Council, Cunard Building, Water Street, Liverpool, L3 1AH
The deadline to take part is Friday 7 February.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Only 14 per cent of the council’s budget is raised through council tax. This is because most properties in the city are in lower council tax bands, which pay a lower amount. It is compounded because the total amount that can be raised is reduced by 40 per cent due to the high proportion of households in the city that qualify for discounts and exemptions (eg: single people or students), or because they qualify for council tax support
- Much more information about the budget can be found at www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk/budget2020, where there is also a special Mersey Waves podcast explaining the reasons for the city’s financial predicament