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I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the funding of Liverpool City Council.
It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Sir George. Liverpool has borne the brunt of a decade of austerity. Massive cuts in Government funding have hit the council hard, combined with benefit changes that have hit the poorest and most vulnerable hardest. I pay tribute to all those who work across public services in Liverpool, who do their utmost to deliver the best services. Last Friday I visited the fantastic Mab Lane Primary School in my constituency, which serves a community with high levels of social and economic need. The headteacher, Laura Morgan, provides truly inspirational leadership in a school that is making a real difference to the life chances of children, and therefore to the local community.
Liverpool City Council tells me that, when adjusted for inflation, it has £436 million less to spend each year than it did in 2010, which equates to an overall budget cut of 63%. As a result, Mayor Joe Anderson has warned that the council faces its
“worst financial crisis since the Second World War”,
with a £57 million budget gap in the coming year.
In those bleak circumstances, the council held an emergency budget meeting last month, where the finance director, Mel Creighton, publicly addressed the chamber for the first time. She said:
“We have gone as far as we can go—the next decisions we make will be very difficult ones.”
The city has exhausted its reserves; it has just £16 million remaining. If those reserves were used for day-to-day services, they would last about a fortnight. After that, there would be nothing left.