St. Helens Council has agreed on their budget for the following year and a new Medium Term Financial Plan.

The budget has been greatly impacted due to Covid-19.

In 2010, St. Helens Council received £127m in government funding for vital services, this year it’s just £12m.

The council has proposed a three per cent adult social care levy alongside a 1.99 per cent increase in council tax to meet these challenges.

The plans needed to be fully approved in a council meeting next Wednesday (March 3rd).

Councillor Martin bond, Cabinet Member for Finance for Governance, said: “We cannot shy away from the financial situation we as a council find ourselves in at this moment in time.

“Set amid a backdrop of the once in a generation impact that Covid-19 has had on our borough and the demand for support means we have to make fundamental changes to the services and how the council works with others.”

The council will look to review how it delivers services and try to generate more collaboration with partners and communities to secure funding.

However, the council has implemented a ‘Capital Strategy Plan’ – which secures funding not used for services – for several new projects.

Projects include investment in the Gamble and Earlestown Town Hall, funding for completely new school buildings at Ashurst Primary School and Penkford School, a new St Helens bus station, a Youth Zone, and investment at Sutton Leisure Centre including reopening the swimming pool and creating a new 3G sports pitch.

Council Leader Cllr David Baines said: “With our new Borough Strategy agreed today as well, we’re setting out a very clear, ambitious and deliverable plan for the council and our borough.

“It’s a pivotal time, and I look forward to confirming more details in the weeks ahead.”

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Featured image “Budget” by Got Credit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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