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News Report Page 3 of 19
Publication Date:-
News reports located on this page = 4.

Council Tax increase to protect Children's Social Care

COUNCIL Tax in Liverpool is set to rise by 61p a week, for most households within Liverpool; with investment in Children's Social Care among the budget priorities. Papers being considered by the Cabinet next week will propose a rise of 2.99%, meaning an increase of ₤31.93 per year for the 60% of households living in a Band A home.

Overall, an additional ₤14.5 million is being found for children's services, which will also help fund the recruitment of more social workers to reduce workloads and provide more intensive support for young people in care and their families as well as dealing with demand pressures.

Other areas of investment include major economic regeneration projects such as Paddington Village, new office space at Pall Mall and the new Cruise Liner terminal and ₤2 million for major cultural events which deliver a significant economic return for the City.

The Council needs to deliver savings of ₤21 million of savings between now and April 2020, with efficiencies proposed including reduced opening hours for the contact centre (₤1 million), ICT savings (₤1.1 million) and reducing the number of Council buildings (₤1.9 million).

Overall the Council has lost 63% of its central Government funding since 2010; that's equivalent to ₤436 million per year; making it the worst hit City for austerity per head of population, as highlighted in a recent Centre for Cities report.

If the Council had the average housing mix and had received the average cut, it is estimated that it would be ₤179 million better off.

The Cabinet report warns that ongoing Government reviews over spending and funding for Councils are likely to have a significant impact on the amount of funding the Council will receive from 2020/21 onwards.

Over the next few months the Council will be starting a consultation with residents about making communities more independent and less reliant on Local Authority services.

The expansion of house building in the City is helping bring in additional funding; the number of Band D properties is 986 more than forecast; generating an extra ₤1.6m per year of Council Tax income.

Following consideration by the Cabinet, on Friday, 22 February 2019, and Audit and Governance Select Committee, on Monday, 25 February 2019, the budget will be set at a meeting of the Council on Wednesday, 6 March 2019.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "It is perverse that the poorest City in the country has been hardest hit by cuts in central Government funding, and it gives me no pleasure at all in asking people to pay more in Council Tax. But if we are to continue to fund services for the most vulnerable in the City we need to increase bills in order to make sure we are doing the right thing by people. By 2020 we will have lost almost 2 thirds of the budget that we had back in 2010 and this has had a huge impact on our ability to deliver services. We have 3,000 fewer staff, have transferred some buildings and services across to other organisations and have stopped doing some things that were previously part of our work.  Looking to the future, we are going to have a serious conversation with the people of the City about how services look from 2020 onwards, because a combination of Government reviews of Council funding combined with the huge economic uncertainty posed by Brexit means we are going to have to deliver things differently in the future. A major priority for us is developing a new relationship with our residents and communities about giving people more say on how money is spent, building on the strength of our communities so residents can do more for themselves."

What are your thoughts about this? Does this affect you? Please email us your views to:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com and let us know what you think about this announcement.

Help and support for people on Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

MORE than 500 families in Liverpool affected by the Benefit Cap are to be offered help with their winter fuel bills. To tie in with Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, that took place on Friday, 15 February 2019, households affected by the benefit cap are being written to with details of how to claim a free ₤20 voucher to help them with their gas and electricity bills. This is in addition to the 150 care leavers and 900 families with a child under 1 in receipt of Housing Benefit or Council Tax support who were offered fuel vouchers before Christmas.  The funding is coming from the Mayor's Hope Fund and the LECCY, the City Council's not for profit gas and electricity supplier. Healthy Homes has helped identify 850 residents eligible for either replacement boilers, central heating systems and loft and cavity wall insulation. They have also referred almost 200 people to the Benefits Maximisation Team, securing an average payment of ₤935 in money they didn't know they were entitled to. The Council has invested ₤23m in supporting people and families in crisis, such as those on low income or at risk of losing their home, including ₤2.7m in crisis payments to help people with the cost of food, fuel and clothes and ₤3.05m to protect people from reforms to Housing Benefit payments. Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "We know that many families are worried sick about how they are going to pay their fuel bills over the winter, and this is our contribution to help ease the financial burden. Our City is famous for helping its own and I am determined to provide support where possible. This is only a small gesture but all of us in the City hope it will go some way to helping.  Demand for foodbanks and crisis support continues to grow in our City due to a combination of austerity and welfare reforms. What we are doing here is coming together as a Council to see what we can do to help those most in need and offer what assistance we can."

National union slams Homeless Tax as:- "Something from the Victorian era..."

THE Tenants Union UK has slammed Manchester Council's Homeless Tax plans as:- "utterly cruel" and "something from the Victorian era." This news is the latest hit to the proposals which went out to public consultation on Tuesday, but have been at the centre of a fierce political row. The new:- 'Public Space Protection Order' will fine people sleeping in tents, doorways or stairwells up to ₤1,000 prompting accusations of social cleansing.

In a devastating statement, Tenants Union UK said:- "Manchester City Council is trying to implement a Public Space Protection Order, covering the city centre, which would criminalise many of the Manchester's homeless people. These proposals risk punishing any homeless person seeking shelter from the elements or simply taking up space on the pavement. If this goes ahead then it will become illegal to beg anywhere within the Manchester City Centre. If a person were to breach the order, they would be liable for a fine of up to ₤100. What homeless person can afford that? Fining and prosecuting Manchester's most vulnerable people is like something from the Victorian era of the workhouse. It is only going to make the problem worse, not make things better."The orders that the council are trying to introduce directly put homeless people at risk from prosecution, simply for seeking shelter from the elements. Together we have a chance to stop this injustice in its' tracks. Across the country, several local authorities have tried to introduce similar policies and each time a petition and public pressure has stopped this from happening. With your support, we can stop Manchester City Council from criminalising people in poverty and find solutions to help people rather than vilifying and burdening them further. Together we can stop this injustice."

The union urged their members to voice their opposition to Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council.

Manchester Lib Dem Leader John Leech welcomed the statement:- "I'm really pleased to see the public and national unions agreeing with us so early on in this consultation, and I'm grateful to Tenants Union for coming out against the policy so quickly and decisively. If we are to win this battle, we must keep the pressure up, so I am urging other unions to follow in Tenants Union's footsteps. I have also wrote to Richard Leese setting out why his party will oppose the proposals."

64% of coupled up people in the North West fancy their partner more now than at the beginning of their relationship

ANYONE worrying about what to wear on a Valentine's Day date with their partner or whether they've 'still got it' should feel reassured by new research carried out by relationship support charity, Relate. In a survey of over 2000 UK adults, they found that 62% of adults in relationships say they fancy their partner more now than at the beginning of their relationship. For those living in the North West, this rose to 64%. While people tend to fancy their partner more than at the beginning of the relationship, this didn't necessarily equate to more sex. In total, 31% of Brits in relationships and 30% in the North West were having more sex now than in the beginning of the relationship. The survey confirmed the theory that love grows over time, with 79% in the North West saying they love their partner more now than at the beginning of their relationship. This compares to 77% across the whole of the UK.

Susie Woods, Relate Supervisor said:- "It's heartening to hear that love and attraction increases with time for so many people. Sharing new experiences, valuing everyday pleasures and creating memories together helps the connection between couples to grow over the years. As partners we take on new challenges like bringing up children and building successful careers, and deal with everything life throws at us, we often start to see each other in a new light which can increase the attraction we feel. If you're having less sex now than at the beginning of your relationship, it doesn't mean you don't fancy each other or that your relationship is in trouble, particularly if you're being intimate in other ways like touching, kissing and hugging. If you do 1 thing for your relationship this Valentine's Day, plan in some time for intimacy; whether that's having sex, giving your partner a massage or simply cuddling up in bed in front of a film."

If you're feeling insecure or unhappy in your relationship, contact Relate. You can attend alone or as a couple and support is available both face to face and online. Find out more at:- RelateCM.Org.UK.

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