A possible 10% rise in Council Tax charges may be put to the public in a referendum, following shock proposals revealed by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson.
With budget cuts affecting all areas of council expenditure for the past five years, Mayor Anderson says the point has now come where his administration can no longer cope with the financial restraints being enforced by central government.
By law, the maximum rise in Council Tax for each local authority is 3.9% per year – a figure the mayor says is already unavoidable in 2017/18. However, Liverpool City Council claims that a 10% hike is the only way to keep up provision for essential social services… and it says the time has now come for Liverpudlians to have their say.
Speaking at a council meeting last week, Mayor Anderson said: “The fact of the matter is that if we took a 10% cut to adult social care and a 10% cut to children’s care, then we would still have cut all the other services by 50%. That shows the scale of the problem we face.
“If we closed all our libraries, scrapped our sport centres, cut all spend on culture and halted all highway repairs, switched off 50,000 lights, that would then save us £68 million and somehow we need to find [the savings target of] £90 million.
“Consequences of cuts will be very serious indeed for the people that need these services. What if we put a poll up to see who would support this to protect the vulnerable people of the city? We need to campaign to get government to give us some of that money back.”
JMU Journalism went out onto the streets of Liverpool to see if there is any support for his referendum proposals, and the reaction was mixed.
YouTube: JMU Journalism
Scroll through the edited comments below for more responses from the public to the council’s referendum suggestion.
Reporting by: Emma White; James Harrison; Rhys Edmondson; Molly Copoc; Sachi Kondo; Cheyenne Hansen; Hamish Ellwood; Lauren Reece & Andrew Nuttall.