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Sefton Council leader Cllr Ian Maher responds to annual funding settlement

Cllr Ian Maher
Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher

Responding to the Government’s local government settlement funding announcement, Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said: “Before the Budget statement in October, the Chancellor stated that there would be ‘absolutely no return to austerity’ and told us we would see ‘very strong investment in public services.

“I am afraid that the latest funding settlement shows little evidence of the Government investing strongly in public services, in Sefton at least.

Position remains austere

“Instead, the Government has left us facing a position that remains austere and which will make our Borough’s economic recovery from COVID-19, when it does finally end, even more difficult.

“Through the pandemic, pressure on children services, special educational needs and adult services have risen to unprecedented levels on a national scale. This funding will not be enough for us to continue providing these people with the support they need in the longer term.

“While the Government will, no doubt, claim it is increasing funding for Sefton and other local Councils, the burden continues to be passed to tax-payers. This means the Borough’s residents are paying for those increases out of their own pockets at the same time as they face rocketing household fuel bills and rising prices in the shops.”

In an open letter to Sefton Council Taxpayers earlier this year, Cllr Maher explained that although Sefton Council had consistently managed its budget efficiently, Government funding cuts meant it had been forced to make over £233 million of savings over the last 10 years.

Disappointing

Cllr Maher continued: “It was disappointing that the Government decided not to support Bootle, one of the country’s towns hardest hit by the pandemic, and Crosby through its recent Levelling Up Fund allocations, although we are benefitting from the Town Deal funding the Government did allocate to Southport.

“Boris Johnson talks about ‘levelling-up’ but with research published by the New Economics Foundation this week showing that, since 2019, the richest 5 per-cent of the UK population are better off by £3,300 a year while the poorest half of the UK population saw their disposable incomes shrink by £110, I have seen little evidence of it.

“Sefton Council is determined to achieve a ‘levelling-up’ for people across the Borough, but today’s funding settlement is yet another indication from the Government that we’re going to have to do it without their help.”