Tory cuts force up council tax

Council tax graphicLiverpool City Council has to make further savage cuts of £90.3 million between 2017 and 2020 due the Tory government slashing its funding. By 2020, the council will have faced cuts of £444 million since 2010.

When adjusted for inflation, that equates to a cut of 64 per cent of the council’s overall budget over the last decade.

In spite of this, the Labour-led council is doing everything possible to protect the most vulnerable in our city and make investment available to support the local economy.

This year, the city council is ring fencing 4 per cent of the 5.99 per cent rise in council tax to fund increases in spending on adult and children’s services to deal with growing demand in that area.

The Council Tax rise works out at £1.34 per week for Band A households, which make up almost 60 per cent of properties in Liverpool.

Overall, an additional £6 million is being found for children’s services, which will fund the recruitment of more social workers to work with increasingly complex cases of young people coming in to care.

In adult services it will to help meet the growing demographic pressures as more older people need support to live in safety and comfort at home.

However, when the 1 per cent cost of implementing the proposed local government pay settlement for staff is taken into account, it means only 0.99 per cent of the council tax increase is left to cover the cost of delivering other services.

That is far lower than the 3 per cent rate of inflation.

Despite the real financial pressures, the council is determined to support people, including:

  • £12 million on services for people who are homeless
  • £3.5 million protecting 42,000 people from the full impact of government reductions in council tax support
  • £2.7 million on almost 13,000 crisis payments to help people with the cost of food, fuel, clothing and furniture
  • £2.2 million on 8,300 Discretionary Housing Payments to people affected by welfare reform and hardship
  • A £2 million Hardship Fund from 2017-2020 to help residents who are struggling

If Liverpool had experienced the average cut that other local authorities from across the country have faced from 2010-2020 then the city would be £71.5 million better off. Instead, it is having to deliver services with 3,000 fewer staff.

This is a point I have consistently made in Parliament – it’s not just how much is available for local services across the country, it’s how unfairly the Tories are choosing to allocate it.

From 2020, the city will have to largely rely on income from business rates and council tax. That makes it vital that it does everything it can to attract new businesses and help them create jobs. That means investing in roads and big regeneration projects.

This includes purchasing land next to the former Littlewoods HQ on Edge Lane in Liverpool Wavertree which will soon be home to the new ‘Liverpool Film Studios’. The film studio will complete Liverpool’s world class digital and film industry offer and boost plans to create one of Europe’s leading creative centres.

I will continue to do all I can to make Liverpool’s case in Parliament and support the city’s job creation efforts.