Knowsley Council has today outlined its proposed approach to tackling the unprecedented funding cuts it faces over the next three years. The Government has cut local authority funding in a way that hits the poorest and most deprived areas of the country hardest.
Despite being one of the more deprived areas of the country, Knowsley is in the top 3 hardest hit councils in terms of funding cuts. Even using the Government’s own figures, Knowsley has lost funding of £229 per person over the last two years compared to an average cut across England of just £91. In contrast, the cuts for Dorset were just £8.50 per person.
Since 2010, Knowsley has already had to make savings of £31m and reduce its workforce by 845 people, a 19% reduction.
Following last week’s Autumn Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Government’s significant cuts in funding are not only set to continue, but are likely to increase. Over the next three years, Knowsley faces a further budget shortfall of up to £37m. In order to achieve these savings, the council has been conducting a detailed review into how it operates, the range and type of services it provides, and what it needs to do to be able to serve its residents well – both now and in the future.
“But we are not even half-way there. With the Government’s economic policies clearly not working, the funding cuts are set to continue until at least 2018.”
“These funding cuts are coming at a time when the needs of the people in Knowsley are increasing most and at a time when the cost of food, petrol and utility bills are all continuing to rise.”
“The good news is that our residents can depend on this Labour council to work tirelessly to pick up the pieces that this Government leaves in its policy wake.”
“We will focus on getting the most out of every penny we have left. We are putting together a two year Spending Plan to set out how we will spend the council’s £270m annual budget. This will be based on the needs and priorities of the people who live and work in this borough. We will continue with our pledges to provide jobs, housing, educational attainment, social businesses, debt advice and affordable credit to our residents.”
Councillor Ron Round, Leader of Knowsley Council commented, “Our Spending Plan will protect key front-line services to our community as far as possible and balance the budget in a managed way.”
“Unfortunately, the sheer size of the cuts coming our way means that we also have to look at further reducing our staffing costs, which make up a sizeable proportion of our budget. Whilst we have been able to reduce job numbers significantly over the last few years through mainly voluntary means, we estimate that a further 340 full-time equivalent jobs will need to be lost (through voluntary and compulsory means) over the next two years in order to achieve the savings.”