Consultation is now open on Wirral Council’s budget for the next financial year.
The authority is currently moving ahead with setting a budget for 2022-23, and is now asking residents to take part in the consultation to help councillors and council staff understand their key priorities for the coming year.
The authority faces a potential maximum budget gap of around £30m between funding (from council tax, fees and grants) and the cost of providing services at the current level.
It is calculated that it will cost £329.4 million to deliver council services in the coming year, based on last year’s costs. At present, like all local authorities, Wirral Council is awaiting the detailed Government announcement on funding for next year and is working on budget setting based on a range of options based on current information.
Following the announcements in the Chancellor’s budget, the most optimistic scenario currently being modelled is based on funding for the council totalling £321.37 million and budget pressures (extra costs/savings which cannot be implemented) of £16.41 million, which taking into account other factors such as savings by the council of £13.93 million, would leave a small deficit budget of £2m. A mid-range budget scenario modelled would still see a gap in the budget of £11.64 million.
However, preparations have to be made for the worst case scenario. This is based on a much lower level of funding of £312.93 million, potential pressures of £29.9 million, and fewer savings in council spending, at £10.48 million. It would see a budget gap of up to £29.34 million, and would require significant savings by the council.
This modelling means that whatever the actual outcome, the council will be ready to make any necessary savings to deliver a legal balanced budget, which must be set to allow for the continued provision of the vital frontline services residents and businesses depend upon.
In the meantime, the council has also been working on short and long-term measures to keep costs down and bring more income to the authority.
As well as improving, re-thinking and updating the services it provides to residents the authority is also modernising and improving its ‘back office’ systems to increase efficiency and ensure it can better deliver the services residents expect and provide the best possible value for money.
The consultation aims to establish what council services and work that the residents of Wirral want to see prioritised as the council prepares to set the budget for 2022-23. To have your say please visit the dedicated Wirral Council budget consultation webpage: haveyoursay.wirral.gov.uk/council-budget-2022-23
Here you will find more information about the council’s spending and income, and a questionnaire.
An easy read version of the budget booklet will also be made available and printed copies of the questionnaire will be available for those who cannot access the online version at Wallasey, Bebington, Birkenhead, West Kirby and Pensby libraries.