Liverpool Council’s budget proposals for next year passed a key hurdle as a majority on the city’s audit and governance committee backed the plans.
The move paves the way for a 4.99% Council Tax rise, with final approval due at a meeting of the full council next Wednesday.
That meeting, originally intended to be dedicated almost entirely to debating the budget, is now increasingly likely to be the culmination of a showdown between Liverpool Labour and the national party.
There has been continued anger in the council’s Labour group at the decision to suspend the candidates shortlisted to replace Joe Anderson as the party’s mayoral candidate – and then reopen the applications with the three female candidates told not to reapply.
The Labour group will meet over the weekend, with the potential for a vote to be held at the budget meeting on Wednesday to abolish the mayoralty altogether.
The proposals for a balanced budget are expected to pass, with Labour holding a majority on the council.
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Last night’s audit and governance committee meeting saw the majority of members back the proposals, with only Green councillor Sarah Jennings and Lib Dem Andrew Makinson abstaining.
Both councillors indicated that their parties would submit amendments to the budget proposals, which includes £15m of savings.
What does the budget involve?
A 4.99% increase in Council Tax across the city and the budget cuts are the headline proposals, but some areas will see investment.
There is set to be major spending on support for rough sleepers, building council homes, investing in children’s centres and renovations to the Peter Lloyd leisure centre in Tuebrook.
Three council schemes to assist those on low incomes, the Council Tax Support Scheme, Discretionary Housing Payments and the Citizen Support Scheme, will all continue.
What are the major savings proposed by the council?
The £15m in savings the council are set to be achieved through a variety of measures.
One of the most contentious proposals in the budget, the replacement of all permanent in-person One Stop Shop services with pop-up services, has been scaled back.
Instead of a closure of all of the shops, the number of permanent locations will be cut to two. The locations of those services have not yet been announced.