THE measures mapped out by Liverpool Council leader Joe Anderson to resolve a looming £50m budget deficit clearly represent the worst of all worlds.
Measures like closing down regeneration agency Liverpool Vision, slashing all arts and cultural funding, and getting rid of free school milk, uniform grants and school crossing patrols, and cutting care for 2,000 of the city’s neediest people are all on the table, as the administration gets to grips with the financial challenge.
They will not all happen – indeed all the measures listed represent more than £90m worth of savings. But whatever options are finally taken up from the 12 page menu, it is clear that it is not going to be palatable for the city.
Cllr Anderson says he and his team are losing sleep at night over the measures they are contemplating, and that is not surprising.
As the Lib-Dems suggest, there will be an element of political gesturing in all this.
Suggesting devastating cuts, only to conjure up miraculous solutions at the eleventh hour that are less awful than anticipated, is a trick that both parties have been adept at in the past when in power.
It would be a particularly tough blow for city families if the council rejects the government’s council tax freeze deal – even though taking the government’s £4m has a knock-on effect on future budgets.
Could Labour, as Lib-Dem deputy leader Richard Kemp suggests, save most of the £50m through “efficiencies”?
We must hope so. But whatever the outcome, one doesn’t envy the council the scale of the challenge it faces.