Council Tax bills in Sefton will rise by 4.99% from 1 April this year.
The increase was voted through at a Budget meeting by councillors at Bootle Town Hall tonight.
Rising inflation, rocketing energy prices and increasing wages have been having a multi-million pound impact on Sefton’s Budget this year.
The black hole in Sefton’s Budget is being driven by:
- A £17 million overspend in Children’s Social Services
- An extra £3.6 million on wages, after rising inflation led to a 6.5% pay increase
- £4.2 million extra costs due to global increase in energy prices
A series of costs will increase this year, mostly in line with inflation, including car parking charges and many leisure costs.
Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:
“Tonight, we have set a budget that focuses on Sefton’s future and the futures of our borough’s young people.
“It reflects our commitment to investing the cash needed to meet the unprecedented demand on Children’s Social Care and to delivering the recommendations of OFSTED and the Commissioner.
“And it builds on the additional £10m-plus funding we have committed to our Children’s Social Care services since 2021 for developments and improvements that are already well underway.
“We will be raising Council Tax by 4.99%.
“As a result, at Sefton Council, we will be able to continue providing the vital functions and support so many in our communities rely on, expect and deserve.”
Cllr Maher confirmed that a number of costs including those for using the Council’s car parks and residential parking would go up but that the overall rise would be less than inflation.
“Prices at our Leisure Centres are going up but recognising the importance of those services to people’s physical and mental health, we have also kept that rise below the level of inflation.
“The budget we have agreed tonight also recognises the importance of funding the growing need for adult social care presented by our ageing population.”
Cllr Maher said that all departments had taken budget cuts to ensure the Council’s ongoing investment in services for Sefton’s children and young people. He added there would be no job cuts or redundancies required by the Authority, which is one of the Borough’s largest employers.
“I would like to thank the Council’s officers who, for yet another year, have succeeded in achieving better results for more people despite fewer resources, and for the transparent budget management process which sees us receive honest and open updates each month at our Cabinet meetings.”
Cllr Maher also urged people who are struggling to pay their Council Tax or other bills to contact the Council for support.
“This winter we have had to work with our partners to provide a network of places in Sefton where people can go to keep warm.
“And we are seeing a steep rise in the numbers of people contacting the Council seeking support.
“As well as the Council Tax Relief scheme, we have the Emergency Limited Assistance Scheme, or ELAS, to meet people’s one-off needs and the Household Support Fund to provide financial support to Sefton residents struggling to afford energy, food and water bills.
“Anyone who is struggling should visit www.sefton.gov.uk/cost-of-living or call our Contact Centre on 0345 140 0845.”
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