Due to huge budget savings Sefton Council has to achieve and the spiralling cost of Adult Social Care, Council Tax for 2017/18 will rise by 4.99% for Sefton Council services. The total Council Tax, including Police and Fire services charges, will increase by 4.55%. This evening (March 2) councillors at Bootle Town Hall approved a Council Tax increase in 2017/18 of 1.99% along with a Social Care Council Tax Precept of 3% in 2017/18. This results in an overall increase in Council Tax for Sefton Council services of 4.99% in 2017/18. Due to central Government policy, between 2011-17, Sefton Council has faced a funding gap of £169m. Between 2017-20 a further £64m of savings has been identified to set a balanced budget. This is a total funding gap of £233m. In total, the Council will have lost 51% of Government funding between 2010 and 2020. This is equivalent to £722 from every household in Sefton. Delivering a further £64m savings on top of the £169m achieved to date will have a significant impact on the delivery of Council services. The approved report also explains how the budget setting process links with the Sefton 2030 Vision. It also outlines the four key areas of a new Framework for Change which the Council is now embarking on: Economic Growth, Public Sector Reform (changing how the council does things), Service and Corporate Savings Options and Strategic Investment.
Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council, said: “By law we have to set a balanced budget and it is with a heavy heart we have opted for a 4.99% Council Tax increase for Sefton Council services for 2017/18. “This includes the maximum we can raise it specifically for Adult Social Care. But what is deeply disappointing is that the Government knows that Adult Social Care is underfunded and their response is to pass the buck onto local Council Tax payers. “Not only is this unacceptable, it will not even scratch the surface of what this Council needs to care for its older vulnerable people. We will of course continue to prioritise services to vulnerable people but this is getting more and more difficult as cuts get deeper and deeper. “Ultimately we have no option other than to increase our Council Tax. Savage cuts by Government of over 50% means that the only alternative is to make even bigger cuts to other local services. “The average Band C property will go up by about £1.17 a week for Sefton Council services. This small weekly increase in Council Tax is essential for us as the Government has reduced our money by the equivalent of £722 from every household in Sefton between 2010 and 2020. “Our residents told us what matters to them through the Imagine Sefton 2030 consultation and what money we have needs to achieve the best outcomes for all our communities while protecting the most vulnerable. “To put it into context, the £64m we have to save is the equivalent to our total spend each year on safeguarding children, emptying your bins, libraries, getting rid of your rubbish, parks and open spaces and cleaning your streets. Try to imagine losing all of that! “How we operate will have to change and people must understand that we cannot do everything we have done in the past. What money we have needs to achieve the best outcomes for all our communities. “The foundations for the future are now being laid through the drive for economic growth across the whole of the borough. This will lead to the creation of more quality jobs, economic prosperity and potentially new income streams for the council.”
The increase in Council Tax for a Band C property (for Sefton Council services) will rise from £1.217.93 in 2016/17 to £1,278.70 for 2017/18. Including Police and Fire services the rise for a Band C property will be from £1,427.43 in 2016/17 to £1,492.31 in 2017/18. This excludes the amounts charged by Parish Councils for homes in their areas.