The Government Settlement for Local Authorities, announced on December 19th, has come as a massive blow for Sefton Council. The council was already struggling to find targeted savings of around £43 million and its initial estimate of this announcement adds another £7 million to that amount.
This is a much bigger figure than the council was expecting and one which will be very difficult to achieve. This brings Sefton’s total estimated savings to £50 million over the next two years – in addition to the £64 million the council has already saved. This is an initial assessment, as all the details have yet to be received from the Government. The Council’s Cabinet will be able to consider the full impact of the Settlement in January. Sefton Council Leader, Cllr Peter Dowd, said: “It is hard to believe how this settlement could be seen as fair by anybody. It is likely to have a devastating effect on our communities, who have already been hit very hard by significant reductions in recent years.
“Making cuts of £43 million was bad enough but now we are faced with significantly more pain for our communities. These further cuts, now totalling £50 million, are as a direct result of the Government reducing its funding to Sefton Council. We were already faced with some unpalatable options around services which are genuinely needed and valued by our residents but this announcement has made difficult decisions even harder.
“The council is currently consulting on a range of options and this will continue. However, we will also have to look once again at our budget options and cut deeper into services so that we can balance our budget. We are legally required to set a balanced budget and this will not be possible without again cutting or stopping some of our most valued and important services. There is no doubt about it, making cuts of this level will have a massive impact on the people of Sefton.”
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