Council leader “angry” at funding snub

Coun Andy Moorhead
Coun Andy Moorhead

A council leader has said he is “angry” at the news that Knowsley won’t receive any money from a new Government fund.

Coun Andy Moorhead has raised concerns about the way in which northern councils like Knowsley have been left to manage unprecedented levels of cuts, in comparison to their wealthier counterparts in the south.

In this latest blog, Coun Moorhead said he was “angry” at last week’s news that Knowsley won’t be among the councils to benefit from transitional funding from the Government to help mitigate the impact of yet more spending cuts – despite being widely accepted as one of the worst hit areas in the UK

Coun Moorhead said: “Residents in Knowsley have a right to feel angry about this. I am certainly angry on your behalf. It simply cannot be fair or right.

“We’ve reduced our spending by £75m since 2010 and we know that between now and 2020 we must make another £46m of cuts.

“We’ve worked hard to minimise the impact of the savings so far but these next few years are going to hurt many people and we have no choice but to consider changing, reducing or even stopping many services in order to balance our books.

“After five years of freezing council tax we also have little choice but to consider raising it this year to help towards the cost of essential services.”

The transitional funding announced by Government last week is reported to have been allocated to help councils reduce the impact of the latest round of spending cuts.

Despite the cuts already felt in many northern areas, figures show that less than 10 per cent of the total funding will go to any council in the north of England.

Coun Moorhead said he was backing the stance taken by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, who has written to Secretary of State Greg Clarke about the decision to allocate transitional funding to 140 councils, but not to either Liverpool or Knowsley, despite the level of cuts both authorities are having to manage.

Addressing Knowsley residents directly, Cllr Moorhead wrote in the blog: “You have all lived with savings upon savings and seen services reduced year on year since 2010.

“The Government’s attitude towards places like ours has been that we must just ‘get on with it’ and find a way to manage hefty budget cuts. Certainly no offers of transitional funding were ever made to help us.”