Politician’s anger at council tax rise proposal

Carl Cashman, leader of Knowsley Liberal Democrats
Carl Cashman, leader of Knowsley Liberal Democrats
Share this article

A leading Prescot Lib Dem has criticised a town hall proposal to increase council tax to fund what he brands “poorly-run services”.

Carl Cashman, chairman of Knowsley Liberal Democrats, accused of Knowsley Council of sitting on large cash reserves.

He said: “Labour run Knowsley Council and its leader have made it clear that they wish to increase Council Tax by a whopping 3.99 per cent this year.

“Prescot, Whiston and Knowsley Village residents will be furious as they are paying for the most basic, poorly-run service and, in particular, have no leisure services provided by the council.

“The Lib Dems would scrap this extra charge. We would provide a council tax cut in Knowsley Village, because the council is sitting on large cash reserves and pays its councillors despite an independent panel advising them not to do so.

“The Lib Dems would stop this payment to town councillors and would use the money for community projects instead.

“One of the justifications for the greenbelt sell-off given by the Labour council Leader is that the council needs to be self-sufficient in the future and must raise council tax revenue in order to do this.

“However, this argument falls flat when you consider the shortfall in government funding, around £50m, compared to the council tax revenue that the council would make if it were to build these homes on the greenbelt, around £1m if the council is lucky.

“The Labour Party in Knowsley are desperately out of touch with the public, voting to release greenbelt land at a meeting in January.”

Council Tax has been frozen for Knowsley residents for the last five years, but due to the significant savings the council needs to find.

The proposed increase is 3.99 per cent - two per cent of this would be used to contribute towards funding Adult Social Care.

Coun Bill Weightman, cabinet member for Finance and Governance, said: “We know that over the next four years, we need to find £46 million of savings.

“This is a huge sum of money for any borough to find, but coming on top of the reductions we have made, this is our toughest challenge yet.

“Through this process we are having to make tough decision, but we are working hard to ensure the services our residents need are as protected as they can be.

“Providing high quality education and helping our residents to find employment are key priorities for us which is why we have set aside funding to support these priorities.”

The proposals will be considered at Council on Wednesday (March 9).