'This is not levelling up': Liverpool Council facing £73million cuts to jobs and services

  • A video report by Granada Reports Reporter Anna Youssef

Liverpool Council say it is "really angry with the scale of the situation" after warning that it is facing budget cuts of up to £73million.

It comes after the news that 13 projects in the North West are to receive £335million in total as part of the Government's promise to level up the North.

The council says it is having to make some difficult decisions in the coming weeks with the worst hit areas expected to be in adult social care and children's services.

Councillor Liam Robinson, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Finance said: "We are doing everything we can to make this budget as least worst as possible and prioritise our most vulnerable citizens across the city.

"But quite frankly it makes us really angry with the level of government cuts that we are facing and these difficult decisions that we are having to make.

"This is not levelling up at the end of the day. If Liverpool had received some of the levels of funding that other local authorities, particularly London and the South East had achieved, we would be booming right across this city.

"The fact that we haven't makes us really really angry with the scale of the situation that we have to deal with."

Wilf and his wife Evelyn in their home. Credit: ITV News

Wilf Johnstone, 93, spent several months in hospital after breaking his hip and arm.

The care visits supplied by Liverpool charity Local Solutions, contracted by the city council, have meant he has been able to return to the home he has shared with his wife Evelyn for the past 60 years.

Wilf said: "The carer comes every morning seven days a week. She washes me, she dresses me.

"She doesn't feed me - Evelyn does the cooking. The carers do whatever I need them to do. They're excellent."

If Wilf did not have this level of care, his wife Evelyn said they would have had to find him a place in a care home.

"I couldn't have given him all the attention he needed. We would have had to find a home," she said.

"Which I would have hated," Wilf said.

Evelyn said it is "marvellous" that they have home care because she does not drive and would not have to worry about public transport or taxis.

Carer Cheryl Furey also cares for Wilf Johnstone. Credit: ITV News

Cheryl Furey has been a carer for 17 years and has seen many people in her profession leave the sector due to low wages.

Ms Furey, a domiciliary support worker at Local Solutions said: "With everything going up at the moment and the government not putting any more money into the care sector, people are looking for other jobs because they are getting better wages doing other jobs."

The charity helping Wilf say proposals to cut the council's social care budget could have devastating consequences.

Jenny Snell, Head of Business Development and Impact at Local Solutions, says the industry will struggle to recruit and retain workers if they lose funding which would affect their ability to meet demand.

She said: "We need an enormous amount of carers to help us deliver the demand in care that's needed In Liverpool.

"And if we can't recruit those people because the hospitality sector or the retail sector can pay more, then we are going to struggle because simply we won't be able to meet demand.

"People will be in hospital longer, potentially deteriorate or they will come home and there will be no support for them and it's just a revolving door and they will be back in hospital again."

Liverpool City Council needs to plug a £73million black hole in its finances.

This means the government has taken away more than half a billion pounds in funding since 2010.

Wilf's happy to be back home and out and about again, but with brutal budget cuts ahead, others may struggle to get the help and support they need.

The budget will be set on 1 March.