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Liverpool shows how councils can counter Westminster cuts and indifference

3 13 0
30.05.2019

News that councils are running out of reserves will come as no surprise to anyone involved in local government.

It confirms what I and many of my counterparts around the country have been saying for years: councils have been hardest hit by austerity.

The die was cast in 2010 when the then secretary of state, Eric Pickles, offered up the largest cuts of any government department to the Treasury.

Since then, in Liverpool alone, we have lost £441m, which equates to £816 less for every resident of the city, and is the largest per capita cut in the country – and equates to about two-thirds of our budget.

Our rainy day reserves, those which are not earmarked for anything and not held on behalf of anyone else, now stand at just over £16m – less than 4% of our net budget and well below the 5% that the Audit Commission (also axed by Eric Pickles) used to recommend.

And not only did Whitehall cut us off at the knees by slashing our funding, it also hampered our inability to bring in more income by freezing and then capping council tax rises.

That is why I have called for a royal commission to create a fair and transparent system of financing local government.

We require a........

© The Guardian