CITY leaders have been forced to make cuts equivalent to £252 for every Liverpool resident because of government cutbacks – up to four times the average loss to English councils.
The figure is 12,500% higher than the amount taken off the council least affected by the cuts, North Dorset, which is just £2 a head worse off.
The average cut per head faced by English councils is £61. Liverpool comes second only to Hackney in terms of highest cuts per person, according to recent figures compiled by Newcastle council.
Knowsley is almost as badly hit at £251 per head, third in the national list.
In a letter to the government highlighting the inequality of funding cuts between local authorities around the country, leaked to the ECHO, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said the city was fearful the situation could become even worse when Chancellor George Osborne outlines his ‘Autumn Statement’ spending plans on Wednesday.
Mayor Anderson wrote: “In addition, we anticipate the impact of the changes in welfare reform to have a significant detrimental impact on the economy of the city as there will be even less money in circulation than at present, thus compounding the effects of the above. This cannot be right and is simply not fair.”
Last week, Bishop of Liverpool James Jones spoke in the House of Lords to outline the harm being done to Liverpool – the city with the highest poverty levels in the country.
He told peers: “The question I want to press in the debate is not whether there should be cuts to the budget but, rather, how assured the Government are that the financial settlement across the nation is fair.”
Between 2011 and 2017 it is estimated that Liverpool council will have lost 52% of its funding from central government.
The council receives 80% of its cash in government grants, 11% from council tax receipts and generates only 9% of its budget itself through fees.
City Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Richard Kemp said he intended to present to his party leader Nick Clegg’s advisors a detailed comparison with another council to show how Liverpool had been affected.
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “No decisions have yet been made on the details of future years’ funding, ahead of the Autumn Statement.
“Councils account for a quarter of all public spending – this year English councils will spend £114 billion – so it is vital they continue to play their part tackling the inherited budget deficit by making sensible savings through better procurement, greater transparency and sharing back offices.”