On 16th February 2017 the council revealed budget cuts of £90 million over the next three years.
It takes to £420 million the amount of central Government spending cuts since 2010, equivalent to a 68 percent reduction in funding.
The Budget report, which proposes a 4.99 percent increase in Council Tax in 2017/18 – the maximum the Government will allow without approval in a referendum – will be considered by the Cabinet on Friday 24 February before being put to a Budget Council Meeting on Wednesday 8th March 2017.
The reductions would be more severe if it wasn’t for the Mayor’s Invest to Earn programme, which is generating £3 million a year to support essential services. Examples include the rental profit from buying the Cunard Building and Finch Farm training ground.
In addition, new homes built or brought back into use as part of the Mayor’s commitment to widen the choice of housing are generating an additional £8 million per year in council tax revenue.
Protecting social care
The city council has taken steps to protect adult and children’s social care as much as possible, and they account for less than eight percent of the overall savings proposed.
In addition, the council is setting aside £2 million in 2017/18 to help the most vulnerable through shielding people from the full impact of reductions in council tax support, crisis payments for food, fuel, clothing and furniture and Discretionary Housing Payments to help people affected by rent rises and other welfare reform issues.
List of budget options
Among the proposals to meet the budget gap are:
- Review of One Stop Shops to save £2.7 million.
- Cutting the contact centre opening times to save £2.9 million.
- Reducing the cost of inward investment agency Liverpool Vision by £1.2 million.
- Setting up a task force to review the libraries service in 2018/19 to save £1.6 million.
In Children’s Services, savings of £4.1 million will be made by reducing the cost of care placements and packages and increasing the number of in-house foster carers to reduce the number employed by Independent Fostering Agencies. Money has also been set aside to maintain Children’s Centres for the next 12 months with the aim of devising a viable option for the future of the service.
The city council is also planning to:
- Open new car parks and extend opening hours to raise an additional £920k by 2020.
- Introduce a premium service from Bulky Bobs, bringing in £280k.
- Save £4 million by reducing the number of buildings and premises management costs.
- Invest £1.5 million in the city’s Lifestyles fitness centres to attract more users and generate more income