There will be no increase in the council tax fees used to fund the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor next year.
Alongside local authorities across Merseyside, Steve Rotheram and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) are currently in the middle of their budget setting process for the next financial year. In a bid to shield households from additional costs amid a cost of living crisis, the Metro Mayor has confirmed the LCRCA will freeze the Mayoral precept in 2023/24.
The precept is part of the overall council tax paid by Liverpool City Region residents and used to fund City Region-wide services for which the Metro Mayor is responsible. Its budget is to be discussed at next week’s LCRCA meeting, including how it will spend millions of pounds around transport, sustainability and employment.
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More than £23m is earmarked for housing-related projects, including preparing previously developed land to build homes, and millions of pounds will support adult education. A further £20m will also support development of Southport’s Marine Lake Events Centre and film studios at the former Littlewoods building.
Mr Rotheram said: “This is without doubt the most difficult budget I have had to put together during my time as Mayor. Pressures out of our control have seen costs rising across the board and, as anybody managing a household budget will understand, soaring inflation means that Combined Authority funding does not stretch as far as it would have this time last year.
“It is something that people across the region will be all too familiar with. The knock-on effects of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine coupled with the actions – and inaction – of the government have seen ordinary people hit by a perfect storm of soaring energy bills, stagnant wages and sky-high inflation. The Combined Authority is not immune to these pressures.
“Wherever possible, working alongside our local council leaders, we have tried to shield people from the worst excesses of the cost-of-living crisis and not place an undue burden on those who cannot afford it – including a £5m investment to support households through the coming months. The budget we are proposing will help us continue to prop up the region’s bus network, support rough sleepers off the streets and into housing, give our young people the skills, training and opportunities they need to succeed, and continuing to attract new jobs and investment into the region.
“Through devolution, and greater local decision making, we are charting our own course, protecting our residents where the government will not, and ensuring that we put ourselves in a position to succeed even in these difficult times. Working together, we will build the fairest, most inclusive region possible, where no one is left behind.”
The budget also identifies how the authority intends to ensure a balanced and sustainable budget in coming years, while continuing to deliver on its priorities. More than £5m of savings have already been identified through modernising how the authority operates.
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