Wirral Council's financial crisis deepens

Wirral Globe: Wirral Council's financial crisis deepens Wirral Council's financial crisis deepens

Wirral Council must find at least £28m of further cost cuts if it is to avoid producing an illegal budget.

It’s been revealed that although the authority has now indentified £39m of savings, a series of historic “bad budgets” has created a massive shortfall.

The council’s chief executive also disclosed he has had to pour in £20m from reserves this financial year alone to prevent the council going bust leaving it unable to pay the workforce or provide public services.

Graham Burgess, who joined the authority last July, told the Globe today: “This has been the most difficult budget process I have ever been involved in during my 39 years of local government service.

“There is still a large budget gap to be filled but I am confident we can do it.”

Time is running out for the town hall to produce a legal budget which must be ready for scrutiny by March 5.

The problem has been caused by “bad budgets” approved by the council during the last three years or so.

The financial blunders included adding in assumed incomes from grants and taxes which never materialised and failure to act over more than £6m of bad debt, built up largely by the adult social services department.

These and other “one-off” budget deficits come to a staggering £38m.

The council has £22m in its reserves, a portion of which it will use to clear some of the shortfall.

But it must keep £10m to £12m in the bank to cover unforeseen emergencies.

That means up to £28m has yet to be found.

It is not clear at this point exactly how officers will overcome this multi-million pound problem.

But if they fail to do so, the director of finance – considered in law to be personally liable - would be forced to issue a rare “Section 114” notice immediately suspending ALL council expenditure.

The bombshell was revealed the day after the “What Really Matters” consultation came to a close.

More than 6,200 people took part in the exercise with their suggestions for which services should be reduced and which should be spared the axe.

Around 60% of the cuts will be made from “back office” expenditure but frontline services will be hit by £17m reductions.

Some 4% of the savings will be found from redundancies – it's possible up to 700 jobs could go - and from changes to terms and conditions in staff contracts.

Over the next three years the council will be obliged to reduce its expenditure by £109m.

Results of the consultation will be discussed by cabinet on February 7.

Detailed proposals for spending cutbacks will be outlined at a further meeting on February 18.

Final decisions will be made at annual Budget Council on March 5.

Comments (24)

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3:08pm Fri 1 Feb 13

bigfoot says...

Quelle surprise!
Time to take the empties back!
Quelle surprise! Time to take the empties back! bigfoot
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Fri 1 Feb 13

PaulCa says...

We should also not forget that a public-spirited whistleblower identified to those in power in very close detail the council's failure to collect bad debt - particularly in Social Services (now out by £6.1 million). This was of course ignored.

Councillors were also warned about this years ago, but put their heads in the sand and went on to set false budgets. Of course, back then, they were in full cover up mode, (and no doubt still are) telling us 'move along - there's nothing to see'..

The chickens are now coming home to roost, because you can't run away from your own compounded failures.

I wonder what other horrors will be revealed as the stones are turned over? I doubt very much that we've seen the full extent of the bad debt.

The sick-making part is that gagged, unpunished learning disabled abusers are free to get busy again in other locations; senior officers up to their necks in malpractice will stay in post, and 66 councillors will continue to polish their seats, fumble with their iPads and pocket their expenses.

The axe will fall on 'innocent' junior officers. They will take the rap and public services will be slashed even further.

As Bill Norman and others count their share of an £810,000+ "bonus", we are reminded of the banking fiasco, and how WE were made to pay for the wrongdoers' corruption.
We should also not forget that a public-spirited whistleblower identified to those in power in very close detail the council's failure to collect bad debt - particularly in Social Services (now out by £6.1 million). This was of course ignored. Councillors were also warned about this years ago, but put their heads in the sand and went on to set false budgets. Of course, back then, they were in full cover up mode, (and no doubt still are) telling us 'move along - there's nothing to see'.. The chickens are now coming home to roost, because you can't run away from your own compounded failures. I wonder what other horrors will be revealed as the stones are turned over? I doubt very much that we've seen the full extent of the bad debt. The sick-making part is that gagged, unpunished learning disabled abusers are free to get busy again in other locations; senior officers up to their necks in malpractice will stay in post, and 66 councillors will continue to polish their seats, fumble with their iPads and pocket their expenses. The axe will fall on 'innocent' junior officers. They will take the rap and public services will be slashed even further. As Bill Norman and others count their share of an £810,000+ "bonus", we are reminded of the banking fiasco, and how WE were made to pay for the wrongdoers' corruption. PaulCa
  • Score: 0

4:23pm Fri 1 Feb 13

WirralAl says...

Proof again that these idiots could not run a bath.

Wirral council could be the first to go into administration.

What baffles me is that it comes as a surprise to some when the senior offices have been bumbling round for years followed by so many of the Councillors.

How can it get to this.

All of us have to manage our money and live on what we have.

These fools have spent millions and millions of our money and now looked and its all gone.

Astonishing!

No wounder Steve Foulkus left this hit the fan. All those years of waste Typical Labour overspending and fantasy funds!!!!!!!!!
Proof again that these idiots could not run a bath. Wirral council could be the first to go into administration. What baffles me is that it comes as a surprise to some when the senior offices have been bumbling round for years followed by so many of the Councillors. How can it get to this. All of us have to manage our money and live on what we have. These fools have spent millions and millions of our money and now looked and its all gone. Astonishing! No wounder Steve Foulkus left this hit the fan. All those years of waste Typical Labour overspending and fantasy funds!!!!!!!!! WirralAl
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Fri 1 Feb 13

ginger26 says...

Bet they keep all the councilors ,directors managers, golf courses and the mayor .the government should come to Wirral and sort this shower of scum out!.......soon
Bet they keep all the councilors ,directors managers, golf courses and the mayor .the government should come to Wirral and sort this shower of scum out!.......soon ginger26
  • Score: 0

6:49pm Fri 1 Feb 13

Hugo1008 says...

It has been stated over and over again, it is not the cuts imposed by the National Government that are causing the real problem, It is the complete and absolute shambles by the Labour Administration for the past decade, that will cause very deep heartache.

The deep disgusting shame and disgrace overseen and encouraged by the Labour Controlled Cabinet, very much under the reign of Slimy Steve who together with Simple Simon
It has been stated over and over again, it is not the cuts imposed by the National Government that are causing the real problem, It is the complete and absolute shambles by the Labour Administration for the past decade, that will cause very deep heartache. The deep disgusting shame and disgrace overseen and encouraged by the Labour Controlled Cabinet, very much under the reign of Slimy Steve who together with Simple Simon Hugo1008
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Fri 1 Feb 13

steady cyclist says...

Last week drove past the townm hall in Seacombe, both office blocks to each side of it had windows wide open, and it was minus 2 outside,perhaps all the hot air expended made them to hot, while we continue to pay the bills fortheir heating.

Then there is the 25,000 quid thats paid for an upgrade of the new bosses office.

No wonder this lot have made us bust...
Last week drove past the townm hall in Seacombe, both office blocks to each side of it had windows wide open, and it was minus 2 outside,perhaps all the hot air expended made them to hot, while we continue to pay the bills fortheir heating. Then there is the 25,000 quid thats paid for an upgrade of the new bosses office. No wonder this lot have made us bust... steady cyclist
  • Score: 0

9:18am Sat 2 Feb 13

Growl Tiger says...

Can somebody please tell me what has happened to David Taylor Smith Deputy Director of Finance suspended since 28 June 2012?
Are we still paying his full salary?

Also can somebody tell me why, if David Green is back with “no case to answer” Chris McCarthy is still on the council's web site as interim Director of Technical Services?
Are we paying 2 people for the same job?
Can somebody please tell me what has happened to David Taylor Smith Deputy Director of Finance suspended since 28 June 2012? Are we still paying his full salary? Also can somebody tell me why, if David Green is back with “no case to answer” Chris McCarthy is still on the council's web site as interim Director of Technical Services? Are we paying 2 people for the same job? Growl Tiger
  • Score: 0

7:31pm Sat 2 Feb 13

ginger26 says...

The people of wirral are fools who are not bothered what is going on around them. And the town hall know it."......happy days
The people of wirral are fools who are not bothered what is going on around them. And the town hall know it."......happy days ginger26
  • Score: 0

10:30am Sun 3 Feb 13

bickyboy says...

Every single councillor and senior officer who was in post during the good times--before the whistleblowers started lifting the stones so that people could see the nasty, wriggling things underneath them-- should be sending Cameron, Osborne, Pickles et al the most gushing Thank You cards imaginable. Its the least they can do when, if you believe the lies and spin, government austerity cuts appear to have exonerated them of most of the blame for Wirral's imminent Judgement Day.
Every single councillor and senior officer who was in post during the good times--before the whistleblowers started lifting the stones so that people could see the nasty, wriggling things underneath them-- should be sending Cameron, Osborne, Pickles et al the most gushing Thank You cards imaginable. Its the least they can do when, if you believe the lies and spin, government austerity cuts appear to have exonerated them of most of the blame for Wirral's imminent Judgement Day. bickyboy
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Thepleb says...

It shows what a sham the what really matters consultation was.
The day before it ends these fools bring up another £20 million they need to find...quick get another video done maybe Lucas or Spielberg would be interested but I did here they were making a new muppets film.
66 should definitely be cut down to 6-7 elected members to sit on a board with no political issues just the best interests of the Wirral people and preferably people who reside on our peninsula and would know the impact their decisions make.
It shows what a sham the what really matters consultation was. The day before it ends these fools bring up another £20 million they need to find...quick get another video done maybe Lucas or Spielberg would be interested but I did here they were making a new muppets film. 66 should definitely be cut down to 6-7 elected members to sit on a board with no political issues just the best interests of the Wirral people and preferably people who reside on our peninsula and would know the impact their decisions make. Thepleb
  • Score: 0

6:53pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Boredofthis2 says...

steady cyclist wrote:
Last week drove past the townm hall in Seacombe, both office blocks to each side of it had windows wide open, and it was minus 2 outside,perhaps all the hot air expended made them to hot, while we continue to pay the bills fortheir heating.

Then there is the 25,000 quid thats paid for an upgrade of the new bosses office.

No wonder this lot have made us bust...
Ha ha ha.

That's it. £100-odd million in the hole.

"shut the windows, you mad man!"
[quote][p][bold]steady cyclist[/bold] wrote: Last week drove past the townm hall in Seacombe, both office blocks to each side of it had windows wide open, and it was minus 2 outside,perhaps all the hot air expended made them to hot, while we continue to pay the bills fortheir heating. Then there is the 25,000 quid thats paid for an upgrade of the new bosses office. No wonder this lot have made us bust...[/p][/quote]Ha ha ha. That's it. £100-odd million in the hole. "shut the windows, you mad man!" Boredofthis2
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Sun 3 Feb 13

Boredofthis2 says...

WirralAl wrote:
Proof again that these idiots could not run a bath.

Wirral council could be the first to go into administration.

What baffles me is that it comes as a surprise to some when the senior offices have been bumbling round for years followed by so many of the Councillors.

How can it get to this.

All of us have to manage our money and live on what we have.

These fools have spent millions and millions of our money and now looked and its all gone.

Astonishing!

No wounder Steve Foulkus left this hit the fan. All those years of waste Typical Labour overspending and fantasy funds!!!!!!!!!
What baffles me is why you're posting on here all day long and not running a FTSE100 company.

Oh yeah, because you are a bit of an idiot.
[quote][p][bold]WirralAl[/bold] wrote: Proof again that these idiots could not run a bath. Wirral council could be the first to go into administration. What baffles me is that it comes as a surprise to some when the senior offices have been bumbling round for years followed by so many of the Councillors. How can it get to this. All of us have to manage our money and live on what we have. These fools have spent millions and millions of our money and now looked and its all gone. Astonishing! No wounder Steve Foulkus left this hit the fan. All those years of waste Typical Labour overspending and fantasy funds!!!!!!!!![/p][/quote]What baffles me is why you're posting on here all day long and not running a FTSE100 company. Oh yeah, because you are a bit of an idiot. Boredofthis2
  • Score: 0

8:06pm Mon 4 Feb 13

PeggyPig says...

Growl Tiger wrote:
Can somebody please tell me what has happened to David Taylor Smith Deputy Director of Finance suspended since 28 June 2012?
Are we still paying his full salary?

Also can somebody tell me why, if David Green is back with “no case to answer” Chris McCarthy is still on the council's web site as interim Director of Technical Services?
Are we paying 2 people for the same job?
Yep, looks like they are ! and as for DTS well who knows !!
[quote][p][bold]Growl Tiger[/bold] wrote: Can somebody please tell me what has happened to David Taylor Smith Deputy Director of Finance suspended since 28 June 2012? Are we still paying his full salary? Also can somebody tell me why, if David Green is back with “no case to answer” Chris McCarthy is still on the council's web site as interim Director of Technical Services? Are we paying 2 people for the same job?[/p][/quote]Yep, looks like they are ! and as for DTS well who knows !! PeggyPig
  • Score: 0

6:54pm Wed 6 Feb 13

antisthenes says...

£20 million plundered from the citizen's municipal reserves. Now what does that figure remind me of?

Oh that's right; its around what its costing the Council to rent Cheshire Lines and roughly equivalent to the total cost of the loan taken out by the Council to fund the first round of redundancies a year or so ago!

Don't re-organise;just re-decorate!
£20 million plundered from the citizen's municipal reserves. Now what does that figure remind me of? Oh that's right; its around what its costing the Council to rent Cheshire Lines and roughly equivalent to the total cost of the loan taken out by the Council to fund the first round of redundancies a year or so ago! Don't re-organise;just re-decorate! antisthenes
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Positive thinker says...

Good to see Boredofthis is back on
form
Good to see Boredofthis is back on form Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Positive thinker says...

Good to see Boredofthis is back on
form
Good to see Boredofthis is back on form Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Positive thinker says...

Good to see Boredofthis is back on
form
Good to see Boredofthis is back on form Positive thinker
  • Score: 0

10:18pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Witch Finder General 2 says...

Interesting to see the £12 million from Working Wirral was put in reserves
and is now down to £7 million. Dynamo that up and coming magician must be working for WBC.
Interesting to see the £12 million from Working Wirral was put in reserves and is now down to £7 million. Dynamo that up and coming magician must be working for WBC. Witch Finder General 2
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Wed 6 Feb 13

antisthenes says...

Witchfinder.....'Wor
king' Wirral now that is a name to conjure with!
Witchfinder.....'Wor king' Wirral now that is a name to conjure with! antisthenes
  • Score: 0

4:26pm Thu 7 Feb 13

RL 1952 says...

The bad behaviour and malpractice in Wirral Council just continues unabated is nobody responsible is nobody accountable but worse still is there nobody with any honesty or integrity. £6m of bad debts related to Adult Social services, coupled with their failure as highlighted in the AKA report and failure to effectively monitor care homes as proven by the reported repeated failure of Mother Redcaps as highlighted by CQC, where are the dismissal notices for the totally ineffective management starting at the top with the director - how much more evidence do you need of total failure!!!
Three new " super" directors in post but no redundancy or sackings of ineffictive managers - where is the £300K coming from to pay these super three Mr Burgess or did you think you could just sneak them in and nobody would notice????????
The sooner commissioners are brought into run Wirral the better because clearly elected members are clearly proving their total lack of ability in this direction.
The bad behaviour and malpractice in Wirral Council just continues unabated is nobody responsible is nobody accountable but worse still is there nobody with any honesty or integrity. £6m of bad debts related to Adult Social services, coupled with their failure as highlighted in the AKA report and failure to effectively monitor care homes as proven by the reported repeated failure of Mother Redcaps as highlighted by CQC, where are the dismissal notices for the totally ineffective management starting at the top with the director - how much more evidence do you need of total failure!!! Three new " super" directors in post but no redundancy or sackings of ineffictive managers - where is the £300K coming from to pay these super three Mr Burgess or did you think you could just sneak them in and nobody would notice???????? The sooner commissioners are brought into run Wirral the better because clearly elected members are clearly proving their total lack of ability in this direction. RL 1952
  • Score: 0

10:13pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Witch Finder General 2 says...

Can You Help.
As an ex Indian Tracker I have heard that. Senior Council Officer is awaiting their Pay Off from WBC and will be selected as a councillor in the forthcoming bi election in Claughton.
Anyone any idea which party? Many councillors come on horses.
Can You Help. As an ex Indian Tracker I have heard that. Senior Council Officer is awaiting their Pay Off from WBC and will be selected as a councillor in the forthcoming bi election in Claughton. Anyone any idea which party? Many councillors come on horses. Witch Finder General 2
  • Score: 0

10:21pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Witch Finder General 2 says...

Not Lasagne or burgers.
Not Lasagne or burgers. Witch Finder General 2
  • Score: 0

10:23pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Witch Finder General 2 says...

Not Lasagne or burgers.
Not Lasagne or burgers. Witch Finder General 2
  • Score: 0

10:24pm Fri 8 Feb 13

Witch Finder General 2 says...

Not Lasagne or burgers.
Not Lasagne or burgers. Witch Finder General 2
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

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