Liverpool City Council now has £436m less to spend each year in real terms than it did in 2010 and is looking to cut a further £30m from frontline services. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council is to ask the public for its views on proposed budget savings for the next financial year as it looks to slash £30m from frontline services.
The city has suffered badly since 2010 due to the Government’s austerity drive. It now has £436m less to spend each year in real terms than it did in 2010 – equivalent to a 63% cut. This has had a devastating effect on essential services.
Through a combination of 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 £57.6m to £30m.
Liverpool has benefited from higher income from business rates and council tax income as a result of business growth and new homes. The city council has also negotiated a reduced contribution of £15m to the Merseyside Pension Fund for 2020/21. It has also secured an extra £10m of Government funding for adult social care.
Its latest 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%, which will raise an extra £7.2m compared to 2019/20.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “This is my 10 budget leading the council and each year it gets harder to find the necessary savings to balance the books without impacting on frontline services, as many of the back office savings were made a long time ago.”
The budget options will be the subject of public consultation for 28 days and further details will be provided when this begins. 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. Key budget proposals include:
- Reducing the number of children in the most costly residential care placements by placing them in the council’s newly created children’s homes or in foster placements. Saving of £2m.
- Creating a dedicated ‘edge of care’ team to reduce the number of teenagers coming into services and improve outcomes. Saving of £1m.
- Supported Living transformation – ensure every individual is supported to live independently in appropriate accommodation with a personal budget. Saving of £2.5m.
- Review of NHS services commissioned through Public Health grant. Saving of £2.2.
- Redesign of customer services strategy and model. Saving of £2m.
- Review and remodel of ICT service. Saving of £900,000.
- A rise in council car parking charges. Income of £500,000.
- Reassess adult social care packages, with all those affected to have a benefits check and means test financial assessment. Income of £1m.
The budget also includes £11m for an increase in fees for home care providers and residential/nursing homes to make sure they pay staff the national living wage. A consultation will start on Friday 10 January with residents and stakeholders about the budget proposals ahead of it being considered at the council’s budget meeting on Wednesday, March 4.
Members of the public can write, with any comments on the budget options, to: Director of Finance and Resources, Liverpool City Council, Cunard Building, Water Street, Liverpool, L3 1AH.