Council funding crisis discussed at Westminster

West Derby MP Stephen Twigg led a parliamentary debate in Westminster Hall at the House of Commons on Tuesday 29 October about Liverpool City Council’s funding.

The city needs to find £57.6 million in further savings over the next 18 months, and Mayor Joe Anderson has described it as the worst financial crisis since WW2.

All parties on the council have united to form a cross-party budget working group.

Accompanied by Wavertree MP Luciana Berger and Walton MP Dan Carden, Mr Twigg told Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry:

  • Liverpool has £436m less to spend than we did in 2010 –a 63 per cent cut over the last decade
  • There is an inherent unfairness in the way the funding is allocated – if the city had received the average cut it would be £77 million a year better off
  • There are a disproportionate number of houses in lower council tax bands, and many single occupiers entitled to discounts and exemptions such as students
  • There is only £16 million left in the council’s reserves (savings account)

Mr Twigg called for the Government to look seriously at a call from Mayor Joe Anderson for a Royal Commission on council funding, and also asked if the Secretary of State for Local Government would meet with MPs and city leaders to discuss the city’s situation.

He  said: “The city council, the Members of Parliament, the entire city really is united in simply saying to the government we need a fairer funding settlement that genuinely reflects the real levels of need in the local community. And my concern is that if this is not put in place, we risk losing crucial services that our most vulnerable constituents rely on every day.”

In response, the Minister was unable to promise a meeting with the Secretary of State, but did offer to meet local MPs himself. He argued against a Royal Commission on council funding, telling the MPs: “Since 2016/17 the distribution of resources in the central grants system has taken into account the banding of both council tax and business rate payers in the city so we do believe that was addressed.”

Watch the debate here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/3b82d8d3-8fdf-4895-b07c-964cc8d79916