Wirral Council could face a £25m shortfall in its budget next year, a further sign of major problems at the struggling local authority.

Last month, Wirral Council was told to consider closing libraries, leisure centres and golf clubs, as well as selling Wallasey and Birkenhead Town Halls after a government inspection which made for grim reading.

Two reports, one on finance carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), and another by Ada Burns on governance, gave a damning verdict.

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The reports included strong criticism of elected councillors and officers, stating that the 'prevailing culture' at the council prior to the pandemic had been to avoid difficult financial decisions, meaning the council's emergency reserves had been dramatically reduced in recent years.

Now, the council is drawing up new budget plans, with last night’s special meeting of its Policy and Resources Committee agreeing to follow many recommendations from the two reports.

This included halting the council’s £5m support for a new community bank and electing all councillors in one set of votes every four years, rather than the current system in which a third of councillors stand in votes which take place in three out of every four years.

Tonight, the same committee will discuss how to move forward and make the savings necessary for the council to escape its budget black hole.

Documents produced for the meeting said that the council’s estimated deficit for 2022/23 is £25m, while acknowledging that this figure is based on assumptions which are subject to change.

In the documents, there are signs that Wirral Council has taken on board recommendations from the report, which suggests that the authority considers selling off some of its assets.

One section of a budget report prepared for tonight’s discussion said: “It is clear that services in their current form are unaffordable and will need to change.”

While another part of this report said the council will “explore every opportunity to reduce asset and related costs”.

The CIPFA report was particularly critical of Wirral Council’s low level of reserves, but the budget report said the council would act in this area and is “planning to uplift reserves over the medium term”.

Tonight’s meeting takes place at 6pm in New Brighton’s Floral Pavilion.