Knowsley Council’s Cabinet has tonight reported its proposals for developing the formal budget for 2023/2024 which will be considered at full Council on 8 March 2023.
The 2023/24 Budget assumptions set aside resources to deal with the impact of £9m inflation. The Council is also in a position to propose £21m of investments into essential services. Importantly, this means that the Council is not expecting to have to make any service cuts or job losses for the 2023/2024 financial year.
The proposals include proposed investment of £8.6m in Adult Social Care which will ensure that Social Care Providers are sufficiently funded to pay the Real Living Wage to their care staff. This will not only recognise the invaluable support they provide in Knowsley, but it will also help to address recruitment issues in the sector.
Council Tax proposals will also be considered at Council on the 8 March, with a planning assumption that Council Tax will have to be increased by 4.99% – of which 2% will be the Adult Social Care precept. The Government expects councils to increase Council Tax by the maximum amount and this is taken into consideration when they allocate their funding to local authorities.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“We are in a stable financial position where we are proposing no cuts to jobs or essential services.
“Whilst we continue to develop our 2023/24 budget proposal for consideration by full Council in March, I am clear that we need to address the issue of pay levels for Knowsley care workers.
“We must act now to address the Government’s total failure to support our social care system. In the absence of sufficient funding from the Government, we are being left with the responsibility for this as well as the cost of sustaining the local care market.
“Care workers across the country are the backbone of our health and social care system. The work they do is vital and their support is invaluable – they need to be recognised and paid what they deserve.
“That’s why the Labour Group Resolution agrees to make the investment of £8.6m that is needed to set provider fees at a level which will significantly improve market sustainability and help providers to manage increasing cost pressures.
“Our resolution sets out that the Adult Social Care providers must ensure that all of their Knowsley care workers receive at least the Real Living Wage from 1 April 2023.”
The full budget proposals will be discussed at Council on 8 March 2023.