Councillors in Knowsley have confirmed that the council has been successful in identifying funding to enable it to balance its budget in 2019/20, without the need for further cuts to services or jobs.
The council’s budget position was discussed by councillors at Knowsley Council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, 21 November, 2018.
The impact of austerity in Knowsley
Knowsley has been one of the hardest hit councils in the country in terms of the Government’s funding cuts. The Government has cut Knowsley’s funding by 50% since 2010 (a total of £100m). This equates to £485 less funding for every person in the borough – compared to the England average of just £188.
In managing these drastic funding reductions, Knowsley Council has sought to avoid cutting the services it provides to the most vulnerable in our community, but all services have had to be reviewed to see where efficiencies can be made. This has resulted in some services stopping altogether and others being delivered differently.
Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources, said:
“We have managed some very challenging budget reductions over the last ten years, but we have always tried to ensure that the services our residents need and value are available.
“We have taken a planned approach to meeting these financial challenges. 2019/20 is the last year of the three year budgets agreed in March 2017 and already includes £5.7m worth of savings that have previously been consulted upon and agreed and will still need to be delivered. The council is facing an additional budget shortfall of £2m, but has developed a plan to fund this without impacting further on council services.
“Whilst this situation will be continually monitored, our three year budget strategy has given us the ability to implement our savings in a planned way. Whilst we await the Government’s Local Funding Settlement, we are optimistic that we will not have to make further cuts to our services or our workforce next year.”
A full budget update and with recommendations for the 2019/20 budget will be considered by Cabinet in February 2019.