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LIVERPOOL City Council’s Cabinet is set to consider final budget proposals for 2022/23.

A report being presented to Cabinet on Friday, 18 February outlines how the council will close the £24.5 million gap and balance the books.

There are no proposals to withdraw services from children’s centres, Lifestyles leisure centres, council-run libraries, nor to remove funding from local emergency support grants (known locally as the Liverpool Citizen’s Support Scheme).

With many facing a cost of living crisis due to rises in fuel costs and inflation, as well as a cut in universal credit, the council will also continue to provide its council tax support scheme, which will help over 68,000 households.

The local authority has already seen its funding reduced by around 65 per cent since 2010, and the additional savings needed amounts to a reduction of a further £24.5 million for 2022/23.

The council’s budget is £465 million less than it was in 2010 and Council Tax only raises 40 per cent of the total needed, with the remainder coming from Government grants and business rates.

The figures show a Council Tax rise of 1.99 per cent in 2022/23, with an additional one per cent ringfenced for spending on adult social care.

In addition to these revenues, the budget gap will also be met by proposals which include a mix of reductions in spending (amounting to £16.49m) and generating additional income:

  • A £40 annual charge for green waste collections – to raise £1.7 million
  • Charging private landlords and social housing providers for pest control – to bring in £200k
  • Managing demand for school transport – to save £100k
  • Reviewing high cost packages of care to ensure individual needs are being met and funded in the correct way – to save £1.9 million
  • Management restructure – to save £200k

A 10 week consultation on the options took place last November and December, with 600 people attending a council budget roadshow, together with hundreds of people returning feedback forms and using an online ‘budget calculator’.

All of the budget saving proposals are being viewed in relation to the Mayor’s triple-lock regarding their impact on people, planet and equality.

Details of the timescale for implementation of the green waste charge will be revealed in due course, with the council looking at options to ease the burden on the most vulnerable households, including paying in instalments and a hardship fund and will be widely publicised when finalised.

The Government’s one-off Council Tax rebate of £150 for properties in Council Tax Bands A-D to offset increased energy bills will be applied automatically. Details of a discretionary fund to help people who are on a low income and living in properties with Council Tax Bands E-H (who wouldn’t otherwise be eligible) will be included in bills.

Following consideration of the budget report, it will then be considered by a special joint meeting of the Finance and Resources Select Committee on Wednesday, 23 February and Audit and Governance Select Committee on Thursday, 24 February.

The final decision will be taken at a special budget council meeting on Wednesday, 2 March.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said:

“This has been an extremely difficult process but I am confident we have come up with a set of proposals which protect the most vulnerable and our most cherished frontline services.

“Following consultation feedback, we are looking hard at how we can best mitigate the impact of the introduction of a fee for garden waste collection. This could include enabling people to pay in instalments and a financial hardship scheme.

“I am painfully aware of how difficult it is to ask people to pay more when they are already seeing other living costs rise, but the simple fact is that if we don’t do this then we would have to withdraw valuable services that are a lifeline for many.

“We are determined to find sustainable solutions to long-term problems, erode the disadvantage and inequality that exists in too many of our communities, and improve our neighbourhoods.”

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, Councillor Jane Corbett, said:

“Every proposal we have agreed has a consequence but we have worked as hard as possible to minimise the impact.

“These budget proposals protect Children’s Centres, Lifestyles leisure centres, our council-run libraries and our anti-poverty grants. And we’ve maintained the council tax support scheme which will provide help to tens of thousands of families.

“I would like to thank all those people who came forward and gave their feedback as part of the consultation process. We are determined to become an organisation that listens to our residents, and where possible alleviates the impact of these difficult decisions.”