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17.02.17

Liverpool council to axe 300 jobs to plug £90m funding gap

Liverpool City Council has stated that around 300 jobs would be cut while protecting frontline services as much as possible as the authority attempts to plug a £90m funding gap by 2020.

The news comes from a council meeting document outlining the mayor’s budget proposal for 2017 to 2020, which will be considered by the council next Friday 24 February and put before a Budget Council on 8 March.

When it comes to the issue of adult social care, which an Age UK report released yesterday revealed is on the “verge of the collapse”, the council has promised cuts to adult social care and children’s services will only make up 8% of the savings proposed whilst also making available an additional £2m for frontline services.

However, mayor Joe Anderson later went on to admit that there was no doubt that some frontline services would be “significantly reduced” by 2020.

Anderson reassured the public that despite the cuts, the council’s priorities will still be to protect and provide care for the most vulnerable in Liverpool.

He said: “Despite all of the cuts we have faced so far, we’ve continued to spend £12m a year on homeless services and £2.5m on crisis payments for the most vulnerable to help those in crisis pay their rent and council tax.

“These are not things that we want to do, but we have no choice, because the Government isn’t listening and the majority of people who responded to the budget consultation said they wouldn’t support a one-off 10% rise in council tax.”

At the start of 2017, Liverpool City Council ruled out holding a referendum on increasing council tax by up to 10% as an online budget simulator discovered that 57% of participants did not agree with a rise in council tax. The new report proposes a 4.99% increase in council tax in 2017-18 – the maximum the government will allow without approval in a referendum.

Among the proposals to meet the budget gap, the council is considering a review of One Stop Shops to save £2.7m; cutting contact centre opening times to save £2.9m; reducing the cost of inward investment agency Liverpool Vision by £1.2; and setting up a taskforce to review the libraries service to save £1.6m.

In other areas, £4.1m will be saved in children services by reducing the cost of care placements and packages whilst increasing the number of in-house foster carers.

Anderson said: “The government’s intention is that we will have to be largely dependent on income from business rates and council tax from 2020, so it is vital that we do all we can to attract employers and help create jobs and help people on to the housing ladder.”

The council added that it is setting aside £13m in reserves in 2017-18 which will be drawn down in 2018/19 and 2019/20 to reduce the impact of cuts in future year.

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