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  1. Published on: 03/03/2017 11:35 AMReported by: roving-eye


    Due to huge budget savings Sefton Council has to achieve and the spiraling cost of Adult Social Care, Council Tax for 2017/18 will rise by 4.99% for Sefton Council services. The total Council Tax, including Police and Fire services charges, will increase by 4.55%.

    Yesterday evening (March 2) councillors at Bootle Town Hall approved a Council Tax increase in 2017/18 of 1.99% along with a Social Care Council Tax Precept of 3% in 2017/18. This results in an overall increase in Council Tax for Sefton Council services of 4.99% in 2017/18.

    Due to central Government policy, from 2011-17, Sefton Council has faced a funding gap of 169m. From 2017-20 a further 64m of savings has been identified to set a balanced budget. This is a total funding gap of 233m.

    In total, the Council will have lost 51% of Government funding between 2010 and 2020. This is equivalent to 722 from every household in Sefton.

    Delivering a further 64m savings on top of the 169m achieved to date will have a significant impact on the delivery of Council services.

    The approved report also explains how the budget setting process links with the Sefton 2030 Vision.

    It also outlines the four key areas of a new Framework for Change which the Council is now embarking on: Economic Growth, Public Sector Reform (changing how the council does things), Service and Corporate Savings Options and Strategic Investment.

    Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council, said: "By law we have to set a balanced budget and it is with a heavy heart we have opted for a 4.99% Council Tax increase for Sefton Council services for 2017/18.

    "This includes the maximum we can raise it specifically for Adult Social Care. But what is deeply disappointing is that the Government knows that Adult Social Care is underfunded and their response is to pass the buck onto local Council Tax payers.

    "Not only is this unacceptable, it will not even scratch the surface of what this Council needs to care for its older vulnerable people. We will of course continue to prioritise services to vulnerable people but this is getting more and more difficult as cuts get deeper and deeper.

    "Ultimately we have no option other than to increase our Council Tax. Savage cuts by Government of over 50% means that the only alternative is to make even bigger cuts to other local services.

    "The average Band C property will go up by about 1.17 a week for Sefton Council services. This small weekly increase in Council Tax is essential for us as the Government has reduced our money by the equivalent of 722 from every household in Sefton between 2010 and 2020.

    "Our residents told us what matters to them through the Imagine Sefton 2030 consultation and what money we have needs to achieve the best outcomes for all our communities while protecting the most vulnerable.

    "To put it into context, the 64m we have to save is the equivalent to our total spend each year on safeguarding children, emptying your bins, libraries, getting rid of your rubbish, parks and open spaces and cleaning your streets. Try to imagine losing all of that!

    "How we operate will have to change and people must understand that we cannot do everything we have done in the past. What money we have needs to achieve the best outcomes for all our communities.

    "The foundations for the future are now being laid through the drive for economic growth across the whole of the borough. This will lead to the creation of more quality jobs, economic prosperity and potentially new income streams for the council."

    The increase in Council Tax for a Band C property (for Sefton Council services) will rise from 1.217.93 in 2016/17 to 1,278.70 for 2017/18. Including Police and Fire services the rise for a Band C property will be from 1,427.43 in 2016/17 to 1,492.31 in 2017/18. This excludes the amounts charged by Parish Councils for homes in their areas.

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    Your Comments:


  3. toffee man says:03/03/2017 11:52 AM
    They also signed off on my redundancy so in approximately 12 weeks time after 27 years of public service I will be out of work.

    But I don't hold the Council to blame one iota. Since 2010 our community has had to bear the most horrendous cuts to its budget by Central Government. Public services in the North are being absolutely decimated whilst favoured Tory leafy shires are being left alone.

    Local authorities as we know them and the services they offer will soon just live in the memory.

  4. torchwud says:03/03/2017 06:22 PM
    im furious they are blaming the increase on the elderly,,,,the very people that went through ww11 and paid their way all their lives and made our great country what it is today.....they dont mention every immigrant child costs 6k a year to educate or that 50% of our council tax goes on pensions for council workers, this is false news at its worst

  5. Tallboy says:03/03/2017 07:09 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by torchwud View Post
    im furious they are blaming the increase on the elderly,,,,the very people that went through ww11 and paid their way all their lives and made our great country what it is today.....they dont mention every immigrant child costs 6k a year to educate or that 50% of our council tax goes on pensions for council workers, this is false news at its worst
    Spot-on Torchwood! Nor does it mention the appalling management decisions they make in the belief they're saving money. For example still using the hopeless incompetent contractor for top dressing roads, anyone been on Kenilworth Rd Ainsdale recently - it was top dressed only three weeks ago and again all the stone dressings have come of!

  6. silver fox says:03/03/2017 09:13 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by torchwud View Post
    im furious they are blaming the increase on the elderly,,,,the very people that went through ww11 and paid their way all their lives and made our great country what it is today.....they dont mention every immigrant child costs 6k a year to educate or that 50% of our council tax goes on pensions for council workers, this is false news at its worst
    Agree to a point, yes there is constant propaganda on the grounds that the elderly are basically living too long, immigration costs are very largely brushed under the carpet while we are fed the figures that immigrant workers contribute, however on balance migrant workers do still contribute more than they cost, I take it then that council workers are not entitled to their pensions, that is precisely the same argument as blaming the elderly which are so incensed about, would like to see evidence of 50% of council tax going to pay pensions.

    The real news ia simply that this god awful government in both guises has slashed funding to local authorities, and pushed more responsibility onto local authorities, then in the usual smug arrogant Tory way disclaimed all responsibility for the financial shortfall, blame the local councils as incompetent.

    Certainly some jobs go wrong, this is because too many local councils are having to take the cheapest option rather than the preferred option because they have no money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The real villains as per usual are bloody mercenary Tories, who know the price of everything, the value of sod all.

  7. prasnee says:03/03/2017 10:34 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by torchwud View Post
    ... or that 50% of our council tax goes on pensions for council workers, this is false news at its worst
    How do you reckon that?

    If you think it through you would realise you have got it wrong. If 50% of council tax does indeed goes on council pensions then it only leaves the other 50% for council salaries themselves together with all the other items of expenditure. That just doesn't add up.

  8. paulollie says:03/03/2017 11:04 PM
    Just pay it, what otherwise are you really going to do except "whinge". Nothing is ever perfect and yes many an individual has got a point, but I stress what are you going to do???

    Anal statements such as "This God awful government" for FFS we've been banging this out for years whether its Labour or the Cons, the rest by the way don't register.

    Nothing changes!!

  9. Sandpies says:04/03/2017 01:11 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by prasnee View Post
    How do you reckon that?

    If you think it through you would realise you have got it wrong. If 50% of council tax does indeed goes on council pensions then it only leaves the other 50% for council salaries themselves together with all the other items of expenditure. That just doesn't add up.
    You're quite right Prasnee, it just doesn't add up, but torchwud wasn't that far off. According, to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-pensions.html so it's already happened in Scotland.

    Don't councils get money off Central government which goes into council coffers and helps run the council, what about business rates, and other fees and charges or had you forgot about those?

    In England/Wales in 2015 the council tax payer in an average B-D tax band saw their contributions rise to +400 a year, that was an average 15% rise. The Daily Mail had calculated that the average council tax payer between bands B-D had seen 418.38 paid into pensions out of an annual tax bill of 1468 which equated to approximately 28.5%.

    Maintain that status quo over the following 4 years and that 50% figure will certainly be achieved by 2019, if not before.

    For sure those gold plated pensions are just not sustainable and only a recipient (or fool) would think they were.

    Are you a recipient?

  10. toffee man says:04/03/2017 08:21 AM
    What people need to realise is that a 1% rise in Council tax equates to approximately 1m pounds in Sefton. So Thursdays rise will bring in just under 5m pounds. The rest comes from Central Govt. It's is the cut by the Govt that is causing the collapse in public services.

    As for pensions being "gold plated" I have paid into the pension scheme out of every pay packet I have received. This was with the intention of having a decent retirement and not having to rely on benefits in old age therefore saving the country a few bob. Also critics need to realise that the final salary pension scheme ended in local government 3 years ago and is now an earnings related scheme.

  11. prasnee says:04/03/2017 10:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpies View Post
    ... The Daily Mail had calculated that the average council tax payer between bands B-D had seen 418.38 paid into pensions out of an annual tax bill of 1468 which equated to approximately 28.5%.

    Maintain that status quo over the following 4 years and that 50% figure will certainly be achieved by 2019, if not before.
    The Daily Mail is also wrong (now who would have believed it?).

    The actual cost of pensions is around 20% of gross pay, which is a lot. But then pay isn't the only thing that councils spend our money on. There's buildings, overheads and payments to contractors/suppliers (for instance road contractors or social services care homes).

    If half of council spending went on pay then that would mean that 10% of the total bill went on pensions; if a quarter went on pay that that would mean that 5% of the total went on pensions, etc.

    Those proportions are still a lot, but they are way short of the Daily Mail's 28.5% or torchwud's 50%.

  12. prasnee says:04/03/2017 10:27 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by toffee man View Post
    Also critics need to realise that the final salary pension scheme ended in local government 3 years ago and is now an earnings related scheme.
    Are you sure about that? I assumed that if someone is working in local government and has done so for (say) 30 years, the first 27 years' worth of pension is still on a final salary basis and it's only the last 3 years which are on an (average) earnings related basis. So (at present) 90% of that person's current pension entitlement is still final salary. If they ended up working for a total of 36 years then 75% (i.e. 27/36) of their eventual pension would still be on a final salary basis.

    Or have I got that wrong?

  13. silver fox says:04/03/2017 10:36 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by paulollie View Post
    Just pay it, what otherwise are you really going to do except "whinge". Nothing is ever perfect and yes many an individual has got a point, but I stress what are you going to do???

    Anal statements such as "This God awful government" for FFS we've been banging this out for years whether its Labour or the Cons, the rest by the way don't register.

    Nothing changes!!
    The current and previous governments have most certaihly been and are by far the worst for the general public than anything since Thatcher, we are all aware of the countries financial circumstances, but why, why do Tories always attack the most vulerable and yet there is still funding available for tax breaks/cuts for the wealthy, restrictions to workers rights yet attempts to remove legislation from employers.

    You're right in one respect, I do totally despise the two faced, underhanded, pass the buck, Tories.

  14. Lancashire Mike says:04/03/2017 02:12 PM
    The problem is that social care is not integrated closely with the NHS and funded in the same way ie by central government. This leads to bed-blocking and other problems. Also areas that are popular retirement locations have a larger than average percentage of elderly people, so it is unfair for social care to be funded locally. Its about time this government stopped starving local councils and the NHS and got some more tax income from the better-offs, instead of giving them tax-cuts and got the likes of Amazon and other mult-nationals to pay tax in the countries where the revenue is generated ie tax laws are in serious need of re-writing to end the practice of "legalised tax dodging" by large corporations and increase revenue to pay better services. The level of central government funding cuts to Sefton Council have been of the order of 50% since 2010.

  15. Sandpies says:04/03/2017 09:53 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by prasnee View Post
    The Daily Mail is also wrong (now who would have believed it?).

    The actual cost of pensions is around 20% of gross pay, which is a lot. But then pay isn't the only thing that councils spend our money on. There's buildings, overheads and payments to contractors/suppliers (for instance road contractors or social services care homes).

    If half of council spending went on pay then that would mean that 10% of the total bill went on pensions; if a quarter went on pay that that would mean that 5% of the total went on pensions, etc.

    Those proportions are still a lot, but they are way short of the Daily Mail's 28.5% or torchwud's 50%.
    So the Daily Mail is wrong, but you're right, again (now who would have believed that?).

    Torchwud, I believe was saying that 50% of Council Tax went on pensions and as we agree he's probably a little premature with that statement, but he's not all wrong because I believe he wasn't suggesting that the funding of the pensions was funded totally out of the council tax, as you infer.

    I've already indicated that councils get allocations of money from Central Government, Business Rates, other fees and charges so when we add up all of the councils' revenues, it will fall short of the magic number, I'm not trying to teach my granny how to suck eggs but by any stretch of the imagination, the funding of council pensions in its present guise is not sustainable.

    If I understand correctly, you indicate that 20% of an employee's gross pay goes towards their pension but without knowing what the total numbers employed by the council are and what the total wage bill is, how can we refute Torchwud's or the Daily Mail's figures.

    As a councillor, you no doubt have all the figures to support your statement, as you appear to have all the answers for everything else related to council workings?

  16. prasnee says:04/03/2017 10:38 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpies View Post
    So the Daily Mail is wrong, but you're right, again (now who would have believed that?).
    If you are implying that you think the Daily Mail is correct, perhaps you can explain why. I've explained why I think they are wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandpies View Post
    If I understand correctly, you indicate that 20% of an employee's gross pay goes towards their pension but without knowing what the total numbers employed by the council are and what the total wage bill is, how can we refute Torchwud's or the Daily Mail's figures.
    But my point is that you don't need to.

    Suppose the total wage bill is any figure you like: (say) 50 million. Then I'm saying the pension costs will be around 10 million i.e. 20% of the total wage bill.

    But the council employees have to work in offices, they have other overheads and also a lot of council spending is on buying in services under contracts. A good example would be care home costs paid for by Social Services (as I referred to earlier).

    If half of council spending went on pay then that would mean that total council spending would be 100 million (50 million on pay and 50 million on everything else). In that case 10% of the total bill would go on pensions (10 million out of 100 million) - as I said above.

    Alternatively, if a quarter went on pay that that would mean that total council spending would be 200 million (50 million on pay and 150 million on everything else). In that case 5% of the total bill would go on pensions (10 million out of 200 million) - again, as I said above.


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