‘12,000 families could be affected by these tax changes’

Council leader Marie Rimmer
Council leader Marie Rimmer

ST Helens will be hit with a further £12m worth of grant cuts next year, council boss Marie Rimmer (pictured, below) has revealed.

Coun Rimmer also warned there would be reductions in specific areas such as early intervention, adult services and schools funding.

Her remarks during the leader’s speech to the annual council meeting offered a stark reminder of the challenges ahead for the borough.

In a highly-charged address, the local Labour group leader said swingeing cuts by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition were hurting local families.

And she said up 12,000 St Helens families could be see their household income reduce because of changes to council tax rebates.

“We have continued to rationalise all our services, but there has been a high cost – 760 council jobs lost and with further cuts being imposed by the government, it is inevitable that more will follow,” she said.

“Looking forward though, this administration will do everything it can to minimise the impact of government policies - but we should be in no doubt about what those challenges are.”

Coun Rimmer also underlined her party’s determination to support the most vulnerable members of society, while supporting economic growth in St Helens.

The long-serving council leader ended her address on an upbeat note, urging councillor’s to be proud of their part in Saints new Langtree Park stadium, and issuing a defiant message to political leaders further down the East Lancs Road who want to transform St Helens into an adjunct of ‘Greater Liverpool’.

She went on:“ If anyone asks where St Helens will stand on city region issues, we can tell them we will stand where we have always stood – with the wind at our backs, arguing always for St Helens, arguing always for fairness, and arguing always for what is best for our borough.”

n The speech was part of a busy week for Coun Rimmer following a cabinet reshuffle.

The new top team joining the council leader is: Barrie Grunewald (deputy leader); Alison Bacon (children and young people); Joe Pearson (adult social care and health); Richard McCauley (environmental protection and safer communities), Sue Murphy (public health); Gareth Cross service audits, quality control and enforcement); Marlene Quinn (chief whip without portfolio).