Wirral Council has brought forward a broad range of savings proposals to streamline council services and help bridge a gap of £27million gap in next year’s budget.
The savings options total £20 million following the recent announcement of the draft Local Government Settlement and further funding from central Government.*
The council is legally obliged to set a balanced budget or risk Government intervention, and the measures being proposed are intended to put the authority on a stable footing for the long-term.
The following budget proposals will lay the groundwork for the council to provide fewer but much more high-quality services, all within its financial means, in future years and to allow for investment in those areas and services which will best benefit the people of Wirral.
At present no final decisions on any of the budget proposals have been made. The next step will be for members of the council’s cross-party Policy and Resources Committee to consider these proposals before a final decision on the budget will be made by all members of the council in February.
*This was updated 12 January 2022 following information about additional funding from the Draft Local Government Settlement.
Budget saving proposals for Regeneration 2022/23
This Directorate is leading Wirral Council on its hugely ambitious regeneration of the borough, and plays a significant role in promoting housing supply, providing wider place-based regeneration and local growth, and supporting cohesive communities.
The budget proposals for this area include:
PROPOSAL: Capitalisation of Regeneration Staff Salaries
Capitalisation of salaries will ensure the delivery of the council’s regeneration and economic growth programme, which is recognised as a once in a generation opportunity to address decline in Birkenhead and other areas across Wirral.
PROPOSAL: Cease Financial Contributions for the Provision of Community Alarms and Response Calls
It is proposed the council will cease the grant funding contribution to current eligible customers for the community alarm/response services charges. Notice will be given to the providers of this funding being withdrawn in line with current funding regime and agreement notice period. Registered providers will then each undertake their own review of the service provided to see how this would be managed with their residents.
Saving: £200k (22-23) | £100k (23/24)
PROPOSAL: Reconfiguration of Commissioned Homeless Accommodation
The homeless accommodation scheme in its current configuration is not fully meeting the demands being seen coming through the council’s housing options system. In partnership with service providers, we will look to reconfigure the service, adjusting parameters, including age restrictions, in order to meet demand and cater for wider client groups. Changes would result in the service having the ability to apply for intensive housing management eligible costs, thereby releasing the expenditure the council currently provides as part of a commissioned service.
Saving: £115k (22/23) | £37k (23/24)
PROPOSAL: The Closure of Nine Public Conveniences
Due to increasing maintenance costs, this proposal will see the closure of public conveniences, located mainly in coastal areas, with sites including Harrison Drive, New Brighton; Moreton Common; Moreton Cross; West Kirby Marine Lake; West Kirby Concourse (outside); Parade Gardens, Hoylake; Meols Parade; New Ferry and Thornton Hough.
PROPOSAL: Corporate Buildings – Holding Costs
Following changes in working arrangements due to the Covid pandemic, a number of council owned buildings are currently not in use, and it is proposed that a further review of them is undertaken, with savings anticipated from reduced utility costs, cleaning, materials etc.