Sefton Council’s Cabinet is set to discuss its first phase of options to help achieve a balanced budget plan for the next two years.

Once again the council is faced with further cuts in Government funding which means having to reduce spending by an extra £55 million over the next two years.

These new cuts come on the back of four years of spending reductions which have seen Sefton make savings of £114 million from services delivered to Communities.

By the end of 2017, the council will have lost a staggering £169 million from its annual budget – which equates to 43% in real terms since 2011. This means Sefton communities, and the local economy, have lost 43p in every pound that the council was spending in 2011.

Reductions of this scale will continue to impact on services provided.

Given the level of continued reduction, the next budget round – to be considered at a meeting on November 27 – is the most challenging that Sefton has faced to date.

View the full committee report which has been published yesterday (November 19, 2014).

The November 27 report features a first phase of savings options, which total around £40m. Work is ongoing to identify the remaining £15m of potential savings which would then be considered by the Cabinet in January.

In identifying this first set of options, Sefton has followed a principle of ‘efficiency before cuts.’ The vast majority of the savings in the report fall into this category.

However, the scale of the total reductions means there will inevitably be an impact on services to local communities.

Ultimately, the council is legally required to set a balanced budget by March 10, 2015.

Cllr Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “Once again we are facing the consequences of massive cuts to our funding by the Government.

“Put simply, our real terms spending is getting close to half the amount that it was in 2011. You cannot reduce spending to this extent and not impact upon really important services.

“We will do our best to minimise the impact and therefore the savings we are looking at in this report represent the ‘least worst’ options available to us. However there are still very difficult decisions for us to take.”

“Because of the scale of the cuts, we are again setting a two-year budget plan so we can ensure the delivery of savings is planned and some proposals can be timed to be implemented later in the two-year period in case circumstances change.

“This report contains only about a half of the savings that we need and, the harsh reality is, this means that we have further difficult decisions to come as we strive to meet the remaining savings requirements over the weeks ahead.

“Throughout the last four years we have always been clear and open about our savings proposals and we have listened to people and made sure that we have reviewed all options before making the decisions we have to make.

“This commitment will continue during this latest budget round and I once again encourage people to have their say on any proposals as we move forward.”

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