The second tranche of budget options being considered by Liverpool City Council is now public.
The proposals, which total around £5 million, are in addition to the £11 million approved earlier this month.
It includes options like conducting more service reviews, seeking alternative funding for some areas, efficiency savings and further reducing the number of buildings the council operates.
Together, tranches one and two make up around half of the total savings which need to be made during the next financial year.
The council estimates it has to find £143 million of savings over the next four years – on top of the £141 million found over the last two years. More than 80 percent of the council’s funding comes from the Government, meaning the cuts are having a major impact on services. If a legal, balanced budget is not set, the Government will send in Whitehall officials to do it instead.
The options can be viewed here. They will be considered by the Mayoral Select Committee on 22 November and then by the Cabinet in December.
A Budget Working Group – led by Mayor Joe Anderson, and comprising Deputy Mayor Councillor Paul Brant, Assistant Mayor Councillor Roz Gladden, Lib Dem Leader Councillor Richard Kemp and Liberal Leader Councillor Steve Radford – is looking at budget savings put forward by senior officers.
Options are being put forward in three tranches, to allow plenty of time for the Mayor, councillors and officers to discuss the proposals and allow people to have their say through the budget consultation process.
Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Every year, this gets tougher. We have managed to save £141 million over the last two years. It was incredibly hard but we did it, thanks to the hard work of our staff, councillors and partners.
“Over the next four years, we face a similar problem. We’ve got to find £143million from a total spend of around £480 million. It’s an immense challenge for us all and is unsustainable in the longer term. We need to plan properly for the future with the limited resource we know we will have available. That means finding new ways of delivering and managing the services we provide.”
In parallel with the budget process, Mayor Joe Anderson has tasked the Chief Executive and his Management Team to develop a long term plan to radically transform the way the council operates, so we can deliver better value services, at lower cost.
“We will consider very carefully all the options officers propose. Our guiding principle will be to try and protect services we provide to vulnerable people, as much as we can, as we’ve done in the past two budgets.
“But I have also tasked the Chief Executive, Directors and leaders of the opposition parties, to work together with me, to develop bold and fresh ideas about how we reshape the council to deliver quality we can afford, as well as my Mayoral priorities over the next four years.
“This is about how we do things differently with the resources we have – not just the money, but the skills of our workforce too. We cannot continue to simply cut services. We need to find a way to continue providing services such as leisure centres, libraries, parks, social care and others in a radically different way.”
“We need to write a new chapter for our services. We need to forge a strong future for Liverpool City Council where value for money, innovation and our customers come first. And we need to deliver bigger and brighter opportunities for the people of this city.
“I want everybody to get involved in this – staff, residents, service users, businesses, partners and voluntary organisations.
“Of course, in the short term, we cannot get away from making serious and tough choices. But I can assure people that I intend to steer Liverpool through the next four years. We will come out of it, we will do our best for the people of this city and we will have a better future at the end of it.”
Residents, service users, businesses, partner organisations and key stakeholders can send in their views via firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to ‘Budget Views’, the Chief Executive’s Office, Liverpool City Council, Municipal Buildings, Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2DH.
You can view a video message from the Mayor here
The council has launched the ‘You Choose’ budget simulator as part of its Budget consultation and it can be viewed here. Briefings are also being held for key stakeholders/community groups.
Further consultation will take place once the £32 million of proposals are selected, and some specific proposals will be subject to detailed discussion with the people who use services, as well as service providers and key organisations.