Liverpool City Council approves budget cuts of £15m

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday evening the budget, that will see a 4.99% rise in Council Tax bills and £15m of cuts, was approved. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool Town Hall
Council Tax bills will rise by 4.99% in 2021/22. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Councillors in Liverpool have voted to make cuts of £15m and raise Council Tax bills by almost 5%.

At a meeting of the full council on Wednesday evening the proposed Budget for 2021/22, that had already been agreed by the cabinet, was passed despite alternative budgets proposed by opposition members.

The budget will see £4m allocated for COVID-19 recovery. This will include a £2m recovery fund to support the council’s recovery plan and a further £2m to kick-start recovery schemes.

Acting Mayor, Cllr Wendy Simon, told councillors at the meeting that, even before COVID-19 hit, balancing the city’s books while protecting frontline services had become more difficult with each passing year amid a decade of austerity.

“Each year setting the budget becomes more difficult, but the last 12 months have been
like no other,” she said. “Coronavirus has been the biggest shock to society and local government in living history. It has created challenges we could not have anticipated.

“But as a council our response has also been unprecedented. We set up completely new services overnight to support the most vulnerable, while they shielded at home, delivering food and medicine to those in need We have spent £90m responding to the Covid crisis and it has tested us like never before.”

Under the budget plan Council Tax – which accounts for 15% of the overall budget – will rise by 4.99%, generating an additional £9.1m, with 3% of the increase ring fenced for adult social care.

This means that six out of 10 homes in Liverpool in Band A will pay an additional £1.10 per week – or £57.08 per year – for local authority services. A total of £15 million of savings will be made through a mix of cutting the cost of services, reducing demand and increasing income. They include:

  • The sale of residential ground rents (£2m).
  • Restructuring debt and changes to management of cash and assets (£1.5m).
  • Additional fees and charges for highways services (£200,000).
  • Reviewing the operation and location of One Stop Shops to better serve the needs of communities (£768,000).
  • Managing demand for long-term adult social care packages (£1m).
  • Reviewing supported accommodation for adults (£1.35m).
  • Reshaping home care delivery (£416,000).

Senior councillors believe the budget will protect key frontline services and help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a commitment to long-term funding for the city’s network of children’s centres, additional money for rough sleepers and a start on building council housing at Denford Road in Yew Tree.

There is also funding earmarked in the capital (infrastructure) programme to continue developing Paddington Village in the Knowledge Quarter, along with upgrading key routes across the city and refurbishing the M&S Arena so it can continue to be a leading concert and events venue.

In addition, the council is setting aside £300,000 for repairs at Peter Lloyd Lifestyles Centre in Tuebrook and will progress plans to develop a community bank in partnership with Wirral and Preston Councils.

The council has secured £20m of funding from the Government to cover Covid-related costs for the coming financial year and an additional £7m as its share of extra national funding for adult social care.

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