Market overspending kept out of Council Budget – and Council Tax rise likely

ots-cllr dawson market street quarter sefton council southport ots onthespot ots

There will be no consultation on the Sefton Council budget for 2014/15 despite the millions of pounds difference to the previous plans, because there was consultation on a two year budget last year says Chief Executive Margaret Carney. And the financial consequences of the Southport Market overspending will be kept out of the budget Council meeting on March 5th but will be dealt with three weeks later by the Council’s Cabinet.

It looks like Sefton Council’s Labour leadership are planning for a Council Tax this year. If the Council Tax is put up by over 2 per cent, this will require a local referendum, which would cost £200,000 to run. Every 1 per cent rise in Council Tax generates the Council almost exactly one million pounds to spend on services.

At Sefton Council’s Performance Scrutiny Committee, questions were asked about the proposed Parking Review and the Review of the Southport Indoor Market, both of which are taking place 3 weeks after the budget. Replying to Councillor Tony Dawson, Finance Director Margaret Rawding said that there was no provision for the Market’s deficit in the budget proposals because there was no end-of year figure available. She said that the figure of £300,000 in the budget proposal to be obtained from the Parking Review would be a guide to the Cabinet but they would be free to vary this if that was their wish. The controversial Parking Review, which is likely to hit Southport disproportionately, has already been postponed by many months from its original plan.

Deputy Chief Executive Peter Morgan was asked whether, because of the failure of the Council to achieve millions of pounds of proposed savings from adult social services this year, it was realistic and ‘robust’ to propose the inclusion of many more millions of pounds of savings in the budget to come from both adult and children’s social care. He replied that he was confident that this was so.

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