Since 2010, Knowsley Council has lost 45% of its Government funding – this has meant a £100m cut in the money which the Council would otherwise have had available to fund key public services. Knowsley Council’s funding has been cut by £485 for every person in the Borough – more than double the England average of £188 per person. Despite Knowsley being one of the most deprived areas in the country, the Council has been hit the hardest of any local authority.
As a result of these cuts, the Council’s budget is now being pushed to the limits. In 2018/19, the Council plans to spend about £144m on services to our residents. 60% of that spend has to go towards Adult Social Care and Children’s Services – where the costs and demands continue to rise. A further 20% has to be spent on statutory services like Waste Collection and Highways. With 80% of our budget committed and demand for those services increasing, there are very few budgets against which the Council can make any savings.
The Council has tried to protect services to residents wherever possible. The “efficiencies” and “back office” cuts cited as the way of doing so by the Government in the early stages of the austerity agenda have long been exhausted. The fact demand for key services is rising makes it still harder to balance the budget. This demand is actually rising significantly - people are living longer and with increasingly complex health conditions, and therefore they need more support. This is especially the case in areas of the country where people do not have support networks or the personal resources to cope with such conditions. Other public services and welfare benefits are also being cut, and people who live in the more deprived areas of the country quite clearly need more help, not less.