LIBRARIES CUT AND SERVICES AXED IN CITY; Protesters Stage Demo outside Town Hall as Councillors Approve PS32m of Savings in New Budget Council Tax to Rise by 1.8% from April

Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England), March 7, 2013 | Go to article overview

LIBRARIES CUT AND SERVICES AXED IN CITY; Protesters Stage Demo outside Town Hall as Councillors Approve PS32m of Savings in New Budget Council Tax to Rise by 1.8% from April


Byline: DAVID BARTLETT City Editor

THE axe fell on 10 libraries, weekly bin services for the majority of homes, and a number of services for the vulnerable in Liverpool.

Amid protests outside the town hall, the city council last night approved next year's budget, which will see council tax bills rise by 1.8% from April.

Under the PS32m of cuts, weekly bin collections for 63% of homes in the city will be ditched and replaced with a fortnightly service. The changes will start later in the year.

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: "This is my third budget and it is getting YOUR Email us liverpoolecho.

harder and more painful each year.

or write to 48, Old Liverpool "Let me say at the outset that there is worst to come.

"We are now at the stage where those options have gone, and we are having to prioritise one front line service over another."

The Labour-run council voted to reject a government grant worth PS1.6m to freeze council tax.

Increasing the tax will generate PS2m instead. It equates to a PS15.70 annual increase for Band A homes, and PS23.55 for Band D. When fire and police precepts are included, bills will rise by PS18.16 for Band A, and PS27.24 for Band D. The Liberal Democrat opposition's amendment to accept the government grant was defeated by Labour.

VIEWS letters@co.uk PO Box Street, L69 3EB Lib-Dem leader Cllr Richard Kemp said it was right to give taxpayers a break. But not all his members voted for the amendment - Rosie Jolly and Tina Gould abstained.

Next the Greens attempted to amend the budget, again unsuccessfully.

The Greens proposed increasing council tax by 4% - a move that would trigger a referendum because its over the 2% threshold.

The party suggested cutting free parking for councillors and their right to reclaim mileage, saving PS30,000.

Their motion also called on the council to accept mobile phone antennae on council buildings (except schools), which would raise PS25,000.

The council then went on to rubber-stamp the series of cuts.

The city currently has 19 libraries, but the council thinks it can save around PS938,000 (from April next year) by closing around 10.

It is examining plans to keep a seven-day service at Central Library and at two community libraries (one in the North and another in the South).

Withdrawing funding, over three years, to providers of accommodation for "socially excluded" people who are at risk of homelessness will save another PS2.6m.

The youth and play service will be reviewed with the possibility of transferring services to the voluntary and community sector, saving PS2.1m over three years.

Cutting school uniform grants was also due to be approved, saving an annual PS700,000.

Introduction of charges for community alarms at sheltered housing will save a further PS449,000 per year.

Selling four heavily subsidised nurseries will save an annual PS800,000.

Ending the council's role in delivering the Truancy Watch service from 2014 will save PS132,000. The council also plans to sell off its centre for short breaks for disabled children in Prescot Drive.

It will recommission the service to another provider and save PS375,000 a year.

The authority has also said it will close its two municipal golf courses - at Allerton and Kirkby - if a private operator cannot be found or a PS300,000 annual loss cannot be stemmed by increasing charges.

"Alternate weekly collections" for 136,000 properties not in terraced or high density areas will help increase the city's recycling rate of 26% by 10%. It will save between PS6. …

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