Council Tax Average To Rise By 48p Per Week March 8th, 2014 jmr jmr Latest News Shares Comments Sefton Council has set its budget which will see the implementation of the second phase of a two-year plan to save more than £50 million. The decision means that budget options approved last year will be taken forward in order to balance the books for 2014/15. Although prudential planning has meant that Sefton Council has not had to look at new options for the coming year, the two-year plan does mean that reductions across many services will now be implemented. This is in addition to the closure of facilities like libraries and public toilets alongside reductions to street lighting, maintenance of parks & greenspaces and the cleansing and maintenance of roads & pavements which have all happened over the last 12 months. These cuts have been necessary because of a significant reduction in Government funding for Sefton Council in the last few years. As well as this challenge a further £55 million of savings will have to be found between 2015 and 2017. This means the Council will have lost around £169 million from its annual budget by the end of this round. By 2017, Sefton’s budget will have reduced by 43% in real terms since 2010. The Council is already looking at how these further changes to services might be achieved. But the outlook is that more services will have to be considered for stopping or reducing to meet the Government targets. In order to reduce the impact of such reductions the Council last night voted to increase this year’s Council Tax charge by 1.99 per cent – this is equal to around 48p a week for a Band D property and will generate an extra £1.9 million to help mitigate against the further cuts. Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Peter Dowd, said: “We have got to the point that the numbers are so big that the public will find it hard to equate to reality. But, to put it simply, we are having to reduce and even stop services which some of our most vulnerable residents rely on. “When you look at the figures for comparable authorities, a council such as Dorset, which had the same Spending Power as Sefton in 2010, now has £50 million more Spending Power than Sefton. “Fortunately we have a very competent council here in Sefton and we have managed to retain some of our most vital services in the last few years, not least because we have been able to plan well in advance. “We are in an implementation phase for our current two-year plan, but this does not mean that things are going to be easy in the future. “That is why we have taken the decision to introduce a small rise in Council Tax this year which could help save some of those vital services in the future. “We realise that many people are finding it difficult at the moment, but this small rise could make all the difference for some of our most vulnerable people when it is added up across the borough.” The 1.99% rise to Council Tax means that the annual bill for an average Band D property will now be £1,291.89 for Sefton services (£1,518.59 including Police and Fire). Work is now underway to look at potential options for the future of services, this will include further changes to many of them. The council is also committed to looking at reshaping services where possible with a particular view on increasing economic viability in the borough and encouraging growth for businesses and developers. Submit News Contact us with your community, business or sport news. Phone 07930717137 Email [email protected] Twitter www.twitter.com/onthespot_news Facebook www.facebook.com/otsnews.co.uk Related Comments comments!