Home In focus Council’s budget consultation closes

Council’s budget consultation closes

by Laura Johnston

A consultation into a number of budget savings options being considered by Knowsley Council has now closed.

Residents had been asked to have their say on possible ways to help the council save £16.8m from its budget over the next three years. The additional cuts are needed as the council manages further reductions in its funding, imposed by central Government.

All the comments received during the consultation will now be reviewed and the budget savings options will then be presented to Cabinet on 15 February 2017 and Council on 8 March 2017.

Why is Knowsley making cuts?

The Government’s cuts since 2010 have impacted on Knowsley Council more than any other local authority in the country.  Since 2010, the council has had to make £86m of savings, and it still needs to find a further £16.8m of savings over the next three years.

Once again, the council has reviewed each and every service it provides to see where savings can be made.  Given the amount of money already saved and the scale of the funding cuts still to come, the council is now in a position where it simply cannot continue to provide the same levels of service.

Whilst every effort continues to be made to protect front-line services, this is becoming increasingly difficult.  Many council services have already been reduced or stopped entirely.  The council’s workforce has been reduced by more than a quarter since 2010 and alternative funding sources have been sought wherever possible.  Despite all this, tough decisions will have to be made once again in order to make the necessary savings over the next three years.

There are 140 individual savings options which have been developed by council service areas.  In many cases, there will be an impact on service delivery and implications for residents and council employees, with around 100 potential job losses.

Savings options being considered

 Amongst the options that could be implemented over the next three years, suggestions include:

  • Stopping the mobile library service (but continuing the home delivery service)
  • Recommission youth services to focus on targeted services
  • Reducing the opening hours of the contact centre and one stop shops, encouraging residents to contact the council online instead
  • Freeing up resources from the highways maintenance budget
  • Reviewing the buildings from which Children’s Centre services are delivered from
  • Reviewing all adult social care packages to ensure that they are tailored very specifically to the individual needs of each person. In some cases, the council may be providing services that the person no longer needs – but it also accepts that in other cases this may highlight services that need to be provided in addition to what the person currently gets.
  • Developing Alternative Delivery Models for its Social Care Adults’ Provider Services and parks

Cuts from Government are a reality

Cllr Andy Moorhead, Leader of Knowsley Council, said:

“The council does not want to be in this position, and the Government should be ashamed of its continued attacks on the vulnerable people in our communities who most need support from public services.

 

“Nevertheless, the cuts are a reality.  The borough has no choice but to manage our way through this challenge as best we can, and with as little disruption as possible to residents who rely on council services.  We will do everything we can to continue to protect the services and support which our residents and local communities both need and value.

 

“We are encouraging new housebuilding and supporting businesses to relocate and expand in Knowsley.  This brings in new funding to the council and reduces the cuts we have to make. However due to the significant sums of money involved, these further cuts will inevitably have consequences for people in our borough.”