St Helens Council has agreed the budget and council tax for 2019/20 which will keep it the lowest in Merseyside.
At a council meeting tonight (Wednesday 27 February) the council approved a 2.99 per cent rise which will help investment in significant additional resources to transform children’s social services to keep children and young people safe from harm and neglect.
The rise, which will see an average household increase of just £4.85 per month, will also contribute to the work being done through the award-winning St Helens Cares to support people to live healthy lives and reduce the need for costly social and health care.
Council leader Councillor Derek Long said: “Residents told us that they wanted us to focus on helping the most vulnerable people in our borough, young and old, and our budget for the coming year will see 73 per cent spent on these vital services that help those that need it most.
“We are determined to do the best we can for everyone but nearly a decade of Government funding cuts has seen our funding reduce by 71 per cent since 2010, a loss of £90 million. This is all at a time when we have seen an increasing demand for services as our aging population grows with more complex needs that we have to support along with other pressures on the wide range of services we provide to residents every day.
“We know that at this difficult time any increase in council tax will have an impact on our residents’ personal finances and we do not take this decision lightly. But we find ourselves in a position, due to continued Government cuts, where we have to ask residents for their support once again to provide the many vital services we provide.
“We are also focusing on growing our economy which will help us provide the much needed funds we need as we continue to face unprecedented financial uncertainty. With developments such as Mere Grange, Linkway West and around the M6 Corridor we expect to see our regeneration put St Helens on the map as a place to invest.”
For the first time the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will be collecting a precept to help with its work to promote further jobs, growth and investment across the area. St Helens has already benefited greatly from this with over £50m of capital funding and there will be much more to follow. The average household increase of £1 a month is set to bring back extra funding of nearly £3,000 per household over the next five years.”
Find out more about council tax, including how to view and pay bills online, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/council-tax