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Council budgets

The financial challenge

St Helens Borough Council, like other councils across the country, continues to face challenges in providing good quality services under significant financial constraints.

For the year 2020/21, the council had to make a further £5 million worth of savings.

What we spend is under pressure due to a combination of cuts of £90m to our grant from Government over the last 10 years and increasing demand for our adult and children’s social care. This means we have had to make some tough decisions.

Our priority has always been to protect frontline services, so we’ve tried to address this challenge by, among other things, looking at all our services to see what we can do more efficiently and effectively and through additional income generation, while minimising the impact on the most vulnerable in our borough.

Council tax 2020/21

The council had some tough decisions to make – the choice of either potentially increasing council tax by 3.99%, or reduce spending on services by a further £3m on top of the £5m savings in order to balance the budget for 2020/21.

At a council meeting in March, councillors approved proposals to increase council tax by up to 1.99% and apply an adult social care precept of 2%. For approximately 85% of households this meant less than an additional £1 a week.

The budget setting process passes through a number of stages, and the reports detailing the approval process are shown under Useful Links. The budget reprts detail how portfolios plan to address key challenges and deliver the Council's stated priorities.

The Spending Round 2019 announced by Government in September 2019 was a one-year spending review for 2020/21. In line with this, the Council is setting a budget for 2020/21.

The budget for 2020/21 was refreshed following the Local Government Finance Settlement and will be considered by Cabinet on 26th February 2020 and by full Council on 4th March 2020.


The views of local people and key stakeholders are an integral part of the budget setting process.

The Council ran a Budget Consultation exercise, in relation to the Budget for 2020/21, that ran from 17 January to 12 February 2020, providing information in relation to the budget challenge that the Council faces. The Budget Challenge information can be found under Related Documents. The exercise allowed residents to have their say on Council Tax proposals and which services are priorities to them.

Summary reports in relation to the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Budget Consultation exercises can be found under Related Documents.

Following consultation with the public and key stakeholders the proposed budget is approved by Members at the end of February/beginning of March.

Every year the Council publishes a Budget Book setting out the agreed budget for the forthcoming financial year.  

This document can be found under Related Documents.