Home Editor's pick Knowsley Council proposing additional investment as part of its 2022/23 Budget
finance sheet

Knowsley Council proposing additional investment as part of its 2022/23 Budget

by Guy Murphy

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet met tonight (23 February 2022) to consider the Council’s latest financial position and forecasts for the next three years.

The Council’s robust financial management has ensured the Council has the financial resilience to cope with the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as having the capacity to invest significantly in the borough’s future recovery. The Council’s current year budget monitoring shows a surplus of £0.510m.

There are a number of risk areas to be addressed which are being closely monitored. These include increased expenditure on Looked After Children placements (due to complexities of cases and the need for external placements), increased spending on home to school transport provision (additional demand and increased costs) and a significant level of vacancies, particularly in Adult and Children’s Social Care, which has increased the need to use agencies for essential posts.

Expenditure against the Council’s Capital programme as at the 31 December was £24.243m. The total budget for the capital programme in 2022/23 is £40.516m and the remaining balance is on-track to be spent. The three year Capital Programme totals £94m.

The estimated financial position for the next two years shows that the budget will be in a surplus position. There will be no saving requirements in 2022/23 and the figures provide an opportunity to invest further in key service areas during 2022/23.

Given the uncertainty around future years funding, it is proposed that the focus in 2022/23 would be on one-off investments that support the Council’s priority areas.

The financial position has been supported by an increase in Council Tax income due to the Council’s ambitious house building programme and continuation of Knowsley’s involvement in a pilot scheme to retain 100% of Business Rates in 2022/23 which allows the Council to maximise the benefit of its economic growth strategy.

Cllr Jayne Aston, Cabinet Member for Resources said, “We have had unprecedented financial challenges over the last 10 years due to Government funding cuts and more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these challenges, we are still able to report a positive financial position and indeed the opportunity to invest in key services to support the people who live and work in Knowsley

“This has been achieved due to the Council’s ambitious economic growth programme, along with our robust financial management and effective decision making which underpins the Council’s financial strategy.”

The Council’s Revenue Budget for 2022/23  will be considered at the Council meeting on 9 March.