Budgets and finance
On 6th March 2019 the council set its budget for the 2019/20 financial year. This was the final year of the three-year balanced budget set by the council on 8th March 2017 which covered the financial years 2017/18 to 2019/20.
This had included budget decisions to close a budget gap of £90 million and was in addition to the £330 million of budget decisions taken for the financial years 2011/12 to 2016/17. Therefore, decisions totalling £420 million have been taken by the council over the nine year period between 2011/12 and 2019/20, of which £21 million remains to be delivered in 2019/20.
Budget decisions on this scale have been required due to a combination of increased demand for services, especially in relation to adults and children’s social care, and nine years of government funding cuts. Since 2010/11, central government funding to Liverpool City Council has been cut by 63% in real terms.
Had the amount of funding received by Liverpool in 2010/11 increased each year in line with inflation, then the council would have been £436 million better off in 2019/20. A recent report by the independent Centre for Cities showed that Liverpool has suffered the largest cut in funding per resident of any city since 2010 (£816 per person).
The 2019/20 budget includes a 2.99% increase in Council Tax, the maximum the government will allow without approval in a referendum. The amount of income that the council can raise from Council Tax is limited due to the high proportion of properties in the lower tax bands (just under 60% in band A, almost 77% in bands A and B, and 89% in the lowest three bands A to C). If Liverpool’s tax base was more in line with the average for England as a whole, then it would be able to generate an additional £102 million in council tax income.
However, on the plus side, the council is able to generate an additional £16 million per year in council tax income due to the increase in the number of homes built or brought back into use since 2010/11.
Liverpool City Council continues to protect services to the most vulnerable in our society whilst at the same time helping the local economy to grow, ensuring that it benefits as many people as possible.