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  1. Published on: 02/03/2013 10:39 AMReported by: roving-eye



    Sefton Council has frozen Council Tax for the third year running - although cuts have had to be made to several services to meet further significant reductions in Government funding.

    At a meeting of the Full Council on Thursday, February 28 councillors agreed a balanced budget plan for the next two years, which will reduce local spending by another £50.7 million.

    The meeting had to be adjourned for around an hour as a protest, principally around national welfare reform, took place. The adjournment was to allow the protestors to leave the chamber. The meeting then continued in a separate room with remaining members of the public present.

    Although the council was only required to set a one-year budget, the two-year plan has been developed to allow time to re-define and prioritise services and re-shape the council to help it meet future needs. A number of services will again be reduced or stopped, as a result of the reductions in Government funding with a total loss of around £114 million since 2010.

    Sefton Council has again run an enormous consultation exercise into a number of different budget options, including a review of library services, parking, children and adult social care, day centres and many others. Several options have been halted, or re-defined, as a result of consultation including a proposed increase in junior sports pitch fees and the potential closure of all the borough’s public toilets.

    Despite reductions to a number of areas of work, Sefton Council will continue to provide a wide range of services for residents, businesses and visitors. Significant investment continues to be made across the borough with the ongoing development of projects like the Thornton Switch Island Link Road and the multi million pound Atkinson cultural centre, which is due to open in the Spring. As part of the two-year plan a special £1 million Community Transition Fund has also been set up to allow for services, which are currently run by the council, to be handed over to community ownership to secure their future delivery.
    Another £1 million pot has also been put aside to allow the council to invest in priority “one-off” projects centred around improving town-centres, youth employment and developing the local economy.

    Cllr Peter Dowd, Leader of Sefton Council, said: “We are living through some of the most challenging times ever witnessed in Local Government. Setting a two year plan has been a massive challenge as we face unprecedented reductions in Government spending.

    "This means that local councillors have to step up and make very difficult decisions around which services are the biggest priorities for our residents. This has not been an easy task and many people will be left disappointed by some of the service reductions we have had to make.

    “But we have been making these decisions, not matter how unpalatable, with our eyes open. Sefton has once again carried out a major consultation and we have listened to people’s views.

    “Having a two year plan in place means that we can continue to re-define the size and shape of the council to ensure that it is in the best possible position to deliver for our communities in the future.”

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  3. pedoja says:02/03/2013 11:12 AM
    Why have they capped the Council Tax at the previous amount?

    Everything else has increased so a small percentage rise in the Council Tax....(provided that they ensured that EVERYONE paid it) would have helped to retain some services that may now have to be cut!

    I honestly don't think that anyone expected the Council Tax to be frozen at the last two years amount.

  4. ex more says:02/03/2013 11:17 AM
    Perhaps an excuse to cut the services we would like to keep??

  5. Sproggy the Cat says:02/03/2013 12:27 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by pedoja View Post
    Why have they capped the Council Tax at the previous amount?

    Everything else has increased so a small percentage rise in the Council Tax....(provided that they ensured that EVERYONE paid it) would have helped to retain some services that may now have to be cut!

    I honestly don't think that anyone expected the Council Tax to be frozen at the last two years amount.
    Totally agree, especially with the word "EVERYONE".

  6. RobinC says:02/03/2013 12:28 PM
    Councils that agree to freeze council tax get extra funding from central government equivalent to an increase of about 1%. It is trying the redress the many years of above inflation increases we endured over the previous years.

  7. JohnBoy says:02/03/2013 12:49 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by pedoja View Post
    Why have they capped the Council Tax at the previous amount?

    Everything else has increased so a small percentage rise in the Council Tax....(provided that they ensured that EVERYONE paid it) would have helped to retain some services that may now have to be cut!

    I honestly don't think that anyone expected the Council Tax to be frozen at the last two years amount.
    I would be happy to pay another £100 on my council tax if we could retain some services

  8. Pebbles says:02/03/2013 02:29 PM
    It may be true that council tax is not increasing, but rates are !

    Police and fire service element of the rates are increasing.

  9. cherie brandie says:02/03/2013 03:59 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBoy View Post
    I would be happy to pay another £100 on my council tax if we could retain some services
    It is possible that other people might agree with you but we will never know.

    Councillor Peter Dowd spent over £10,000 of Sefton MBC's money on a large scientific survey which said 63 per cent of people in the Borough agreed with you and 37 per cent didnt. You would think that if the survey was true he would be wanting to set to as soon as possible with a referendum to get permission to put up Council Tax by £1.50 per week and save lots of services. But maybe, now he's been in charge for a couple of years, he is enjoying making millions of pounds of cuts? That is certainly what the demonstrators seemed to be saying who interrupted the Council meeting.

  10. anglia says:02/03/2013 05:02 PM
    Cherie really must try harder to understand. It is his CONDEM govt imposing these cuts on us.

  11. snazzycracker says:03/03/2013 01:18 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by pedoja View Post
    Why have they capped the Council Tax at the previous amount?

    Everything else has increased so a small percentage rise in the Council Tax....(provided that they ensured that EVERYONE paid it) would have helped to retain some services that may now have to be cut!

    I honestly don't think that anyone expected the Council Tax to be frozen at the last two years amount.
    Maybe because it is not acceptable to ask us for more money for less services?
    They really would be taking the P if they did.

  12. Stupot says:03/03/2013 12:14 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBoy View Post
    I would be happy to pay another £100 on my council tax if we could retain some services
    The Council Tax we pay individually throughout the UK is, overall, only a fraction of that provided by Central Government.

  13. newgrounder says:03/03/2013 04:30 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Stupot View Post
    The Council Tax we pay individually throughout the UK is, overall, only a fraction of that provided by Central Government.
    So that's ok then so long as we're not paying for it!!! Where does central Govt get its cash from again, oh yes the money tree!!

    Surely all the money would be better spent improving services, etc rather than on polls that are designed to provide the right result!!

  14. oxo says:03/03/2013 05:51 PM
    I can't believe what Councillor Peter Dowd the Labour Party and Council Leader, said on Radio Merseyside about the Sefton residents that attended the Council Budget meeting at Bootle Town Hall.... The residents was there to protest against the Council and Government cuts....He said, "The protesters was, aggressive, abusive and DRUNK"......

    I DIDN'T SEE ANYONE AGGRESSIVE, ABUSIVE, OR DRUNK ....IT'S ALL LIES.. -

    See more at: http://www.southport.gb.com/southpor....w23bBrhL.dpuf

  15. duncet says:03/03/2013 08:34 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by pedoja View Post
    Why have they capped the Council Tax at the previous amount?

    Everything else has increased so a small percentage rise in the Council Tax....(provided that they ensured that EVERYONE paid it) would have helped to retain some services that may now have to be cut!

    I honestly don't think that anyone expected the Council Tax to be frozen at the last two years amount.
    I agree with pedoja. I think most people would prefer to pay extra in their council tax if it meant that vital services - some of them affecting the most vulnerable people in our society - could be saved.

  16. cherie brandie says:03/03/2013 09:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by duncet View Post
    I think most people would prefer to pay extra in their council tax if it meant that vital services - some of them affecting the most vulnerable people in our society - could be saved.
    You might have thought that Councillor Peter Dowd and the Bootle Labour crew might agree with this idea, wouldn't you? Especially when you have heard all sorts from them in previous years about not wanting to make cuts in services. And then, Cllr Dowd spent a small fortune of OUR money a few months back on a scientific survey of all Sefton MBC residents to ask them that very question, with almost exactly two thirds replying in the affirmative that they would take a 6 per cent rise in Council Tax. But he somehow decided not to pursue that line, without explaining why. Curious, eh?

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