Knowsley Council’s Cabinet considers tough decisions

Published on: Thursday, 25-February-2016

Knowsley Council’s Cabinet (on 24 February) has considered proposals which will help it to achieve the £16 million of savings it needs to find in 2016/17. Since 2010, the Council has already had to make £75 million of savings due to drastic funding cuts from central Government. 

All council services have been reviewed to see where savings can be made and if they can be delivered differently.  Opportunities for income generation have been explored. 

If approved, some of the proposals will mean a further reduction in the Council’s workforce.  In total, 81 posts would be deleted, but the vast majority of these will be through voluntary redundancy or fixed term contracts coming to an end.  Where voluntary means are not possible, any compulsory redundancies will be deferred until 2017/18, which will allow more time to explore all options to achieve post reductions through voluntary means.

Today’s meeting also endorsed plans to increase the Council’s Living Wage from £7.85 to £8.25 with effect from 1 April 2016 as well as approving a £5.1m investment package. This consists of £1m to establish an Education Commission consisting of key stakeholders who will drive improvements in education attainment across the borough, plus £2.8m to fund a ‘Ways to Work’ programme which will support 4,000 residents into jobs over the next three years.

Council Tax has been frozen for Knowsley residents for the last five years, but due to the significant savings the Council needs to find, an increase is an option that has had to be considered.  The proposed increase is 3.99% - 2% of this would be used to contribute towards funding Adult Social Care. This still leaves a budget pressure for social care as the increase in Council Tax would generate just over £0.5m, whilst the cost for adult social care is £3 million per year.

Cllr Bill Weightman, Cabinet Member for Finance and Governance, said “We know that over the next four years, we need to find £46 million of savings.  This is a huge sum of money for any borough to find, but coming on top of the reductions we have made, this is our toughest challenge yet. Through this process we are having to make tough decision, but we are working hard to ensure the services our residents need are as protected as they can be.  Providing high quality education and helping our residents to find employment are key priorities for us which is why we have set aside funding to support these priorities.”

The proposals will be considered at Council on 9 March 2016.