Knowsley Council faces funding crisis

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The latest series of government cuts means that over 300 jobs are at risk and a deficit of £36 million could be created in the Merseyside borough of Knowsley.

Local councils are facing increasingly tough times as a result of the downturn in the economy and Knowsley, which is one of the country’s most deprived areas, is expected to be one of the hardest hit.

By the end of the 2014/15 financial year, the council’s ‘spending power’ in the area will be reduced by £182 per household, which is more than double the national average.

Labour council leader Ron Round said the latest proposals would see about 340 jobs lost over the next three years, but most would not be cut until 2014 at the earliest.

He added: “These cuts have been forced on us by the national government and, even after setting this budget, we will still need to find more savings in future years.

“Despite the huge challenges we face, we are looking to the future and we have done an excellent job of balancing the need to invest in services to improve our borough against the need to make tough decisions and prioritise the things which are really important to our residents.”

Knowley mother-of-two Sarah Woodbury told JMU Journalism: “These cuts come at a bad time for people in the area. We all want the best for our children and I for one don’t mind paying for services if my children benefit but there are some people who will not be able to stretch their budgets further.

“I’d hate to think what would happen to these families of somebody who was made redundant, times are hard.”

This is not the first series of cuts to affect the area, with £31million already saved in recent years due to widespread cost-cutting and 845 jobs have also been lost, which equates to one fifth of the entire workforce.

Knowsley is one of the local authorities named by the charity, Scope, as one of the ‘best coping’ councils in the country.

Plans for cuts are expected to be finalised during a council meeting on March 6th.

About Scott Rumsey, JMU Journalism