Knowsley Council’s Cabinet received an update on the Council’s Financial Strategy tonight (Wednesday 8 December 2021).
The Council’s medium-term financial forecasts have been updated to include the latest information on the full range of Council budgets including service demand pressures, Government funding, inflation, and treasury management activity.
The Government expects local authorities to contain future inflation and demand-led pressures within the funding allocations which are announced. As part of this funding, the Government expects Councils to raise Council Tax by 2% with an additional 1% increase to specifically help to fund Social Care pressures. The financial forecasts therefore include additional Council investment of £12.100m to fund demand-led pressures in 2022/23 and future years (including in respect of Adult Social Care, Children’s Social Care, and Home to School Transport), as well as the associated impact on the Council’s support services.
Based on the information currently available, a balanced position is forecast for 2022/23 although there is also a likelihood of increasing deficits in future years. There are several significant influences on the financial forecasts which will only be clarified over the coming months – particularly the Local Government Finance Settlement which is expected to be announced by the Government in mid-December 2021. At this stage, it is not expected that the Government will provide sufficient funding for all these pressures over the coming years.
The Council has robust financial management systems in place to manage these pressures in 2022/23 and expects to be able to balance next year’s budget without the need for any new savings, there is the possibility that deficits will have to be addressed in future years.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “Year after year, we clearly demonstrate how our strong financial management enables us to continue to deliver the services and support our communities value and need.
“It isn’t an easy process and one which is exacerbated by the Government’s failure to allocate fair funding to areas like Knowsley where needs are greater, yet funding isn’t allocated based on need.
“We await further details from the Government regarding our funding allocation as part of the Local Government Finance Settlement and how this will impact on our budget.
“I hope that areas like Knowsley, with greater levels of deprivation and needs, are not overlooked and the funding is fairly allocated based on where it is needed the most.”