Liverpool City Council is to begin a consultation next month on its budget for 2022/23 – but is warning residents there will be ‘no easy decisions’ as it seeks to save £34 million next year.
The budget options report being presented to Cabinet on Friday 5 November will detail the scale of the challenge, and proposals for how the council could close the gap for 2022/23.
This report was prepared before the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget statement in Parliament on Wednesday, the full implications of which are currently being assessed.
There are no proposals to withdraw services from Children’s Centres, Lifestyles leisure centres and no proposals to remove funding from local emergency support grants (known locally as the Liverpool Citizen’s Support Scheme).
The local authority has already seen its funding reduced by around 65 per cent since 2010, and the additional savings needed amounts to a reduction of a further £34 million per cent for 2022/23.
The council’s budget is £465 million a year less than it was in 2010, and Council Tax only raises 40 per cent of the total needed, with the remainder coming from Government grants and business rates.
The figures show a Council Tax rise of 1.99 per cent in 2022/23, and an additional two percent ringfenced for spending on adult social care.
Proposals totalling £18.7 million have so far been drawn up following consultation between the Cabinet and council officers, including a mix of reductions in spending and generating additional income.
The options include:
A review of the controlled parking zones and services – to generate £1.6 million
A £40 annual charge for green bin collections – to raise £1.7 million
Charging private landlords and social housing providers for pest control – to bring in £200k
Managing demand for school transport – to save £500k
Reviewing high cost packages of care to ensure individual needs are being met and funded in the correct way – to save £1.9 million
Increasing revenue from filming, cruise liners and events – to bring in £270k
Management restructure – to save £200k
Review of subsidy given to several externally run libraries – to save £280k
Following approval of the report, a 10 week consultation on the budget proposals will get under way from 6 November, giving people the chance to have their say over the plans.
The consultation will include a ‘budget calculator’ which will enable residents to indicate where they would like savings to be made, as well as drop-in sessions for people to feedback, briefings for councillors and stakeholders and a live online Q&A with Mayor Joanne Anderson.
All of the budget saving proposals will be viewed in relation to the Mayor’s triple-lock of their impact on people, planet and equality.
Following completion of the consultation, a final budget report will be drawn up and considered by the Cabinet in February 2022, and taken on to a special budget council meeting on Wednesday 2 March 2022.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “We have to save an eye-watering amount of money in order to legally balance our budget.
“We will examine every decision through our triple-lock prism of its impact on people, the planet and improving equality.
“We are committed to doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable and those struggling to make ends meet, and they are among our highest priorities.
“We won’t shirk away from finding sustainable solutions to long-term problems and the double whammy of ‘austerity’ and Covid-19.”
Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Jane Corbett, said: “There are no easy decisions in the proposals being put forward for consultation.
“These budget proposals protect Children’s Centres, Lifestyles leisure centres and our anti-poverty grants but there will inevitably be a lot pain to go through due to the triple whammy of austerity, Covid-19 and in-work poverty.
“We really need people to get involved and have their say during the 10 week consultation period. We need to come together to build back fairer. All your concerns, ideas and views are very welcome.”