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Hundreds in fury outside Town Hall as £32m cuts rubber stamped

All in it together: Liverpool pays latest instalment of bankers' debt

Written by . Published on March 7th 2013.


Hundreds in fury outside Town Hall as £32m cuts rubber stamped
 

LIVERPOOL Town Hall was transformed into a fortress last night. Getting into a Buckingham Palace garden party would have been easier.

Civic officials remembered last year’s budget meeting when protesters crashed their way in through the front door to reach the council chamber. 

Did Tony Mulhearn expect the council to
listen to the protesters? 'No,' he told me.
'We’d need 50,000 people here to achieve that'

This time the solid double door was barricaded, the cast iron gates were padlocked, and a pen-like entrance system was put up at the side entrance.

Inside most of the 90 city councillors gathered to fix the council tax for the coming year. 

Outside around 200 people gathered to vent their anger. There were union members, parents, children, left wing activists and a large police presence.

Protestors surrounded two police horses and were physically trying to push them.  The horses won.  Despite the noise, the intimidation and the provocation, the police took everything in their stride. Just one protester was cuffed and taken away.

Tony MulhearnTony Mulhearn

During the big debate in the council chamber the din from outside could be heard, especially the messages transmitted by megaphone.

Amongst the protesters was former city councillor, left-wing Socialist Tony Mulhearn. In the days of Militant, Mulhearn stood shoulder to shoulder with Derek Hatton and the council decided to take on the Thatcher government rather than implement savage cuts.

 

It led to Mulhearn and 46 other Labour councillors being surcharged and banned from office for five years. Just two of those 47 still serve on the city council,  John McIntosh and Roy Gladden.

Did Tony Mulhearn expect the council to listen to the protesters?

Liverpool Town Hall Demo %284%29 %28575X1024%29
"No," he told me. "We’d need 50,000 people here to achieve that."

In the mid-80s he had witnessed something like that number parading from Shaw Street to the Town Hall for that historic vote.

The marchers filled the entire length of Castle Street. Tonight people were more interested in Coronation Street than Dale Street.

Even so, those who could bear to tear themselves away from Facebook caused peak time chaos in the city centre, with buses heading to the Pier Head diverted as police closed off a number of roads around the Town Hall.

In the council chamber the decision was inevitable. It was a rubber-stamping exercise. The council tax will be going up by just under 2 per cent, a programme of cuts worth £32m was agreed along with some of the consequences of those cuts.

Liverpool is now governed by an elected mayor, Joe Anderson. But under the law the budget has to be set the councillors. It is one of a small handful of duties given to councillors.

As Mayor Joe’s Labour Group dominate the council chamber there was never going to be a battle of the budget.

Yes the Lib Dems sounded off and the Green Party put forward what would have been a most unpopular alternative budget, increasing bills by 4 per cent for householders. And worse still: taking parking permits off the councillors. That idea didn't even reach first gear.

The meeting was at times irritable, leading Lord Mayor Sharon Sullivan to try to bring order, adding otherwise she might as well be at home doing the dishes. 

Liverpool Town Hall Demo %285%29 %281024X575%29

Some of the protesters were all too eager to direct their anger towards Mayor Joe. But his arms were tied by a Coalition Government seemingly so uncaring and unlistening. If it turned out they were an alien force masquerading as human beings nobody would be surprised.

The amount of money given to Liverpool by Whitehall is being slashed in half during the lifetime of the Government.  The bankers did this to our national economy, and it’s all Liverpool who is going to have to pay, seems to be the mantra.

It wasn’t as though the Mayor could console his councillors and the citizens with the message things can only get better.

He knows, things will be even worse next year.

Liverpool Town Hall Demo %282%29 %281024X575%29

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousMarch 7th 2013.

Why are we blaming the coalition government? They came to power after the mess was made and I'm sure they dont actualy relish getting to power and having no money to persue their policy objectives.

The cuts were forced on this country by the bankers who you quite rightly point the finger at but why oh why dont you reserve any blame for the labour party who had been in power for 10 years while this mess was made? they got us into this mess.

London RoadMarch 7th 2013.

I personally don't have much faith in any political party but it is pointless to start playing the blame game in Labour's direction, when they are in no position to do anything and we have a coalition in power that is.

All politicians are afraid of the banks and will do their bidding. It is hedge fund managers and thrusting City boys who really rule the world, not Obama, not Cameron, not whatever the Labour guy is called, not Joe Anderson.

The present government have it in their power to legislate so that banks can be forced to lend, to not hold on to these obscene profits and to not pay vast bonuses to those who just laugh at the people of this small island from a much nicer one, like Caymen, where they and their employers evade tax. Banks that the people of this country do own, let us not forget

Paul ReddyMarch 7th 2013.

Our total UK national debt is estimated at around £1.3trillion and rising at an alarming rate. The previous Labour government of 1997-2010 wasted money such as on expensive PFI schemes that future generations will pay for. They overspent in the years of plenty leaving a lack of a financial cushion in the present lean years. The bank bailouts cost billions and they should share a large part of the blame for the current mess with reckless & risky trading practices and their regulation was ineffective. The current coalition government cannot be blamed for everything as they inherited an overindebted economy essentially built on debt fuelled consumer spending and rising house prices. The current coalition do have some of their priorities wrong, involving UK in expensive foreign wars (Libya et al)like the last lot with Iraq/ Afghanistan. Then we had the £9.3BN London Olympics and a government still spending about £150 BN per year more than it raises that just gets piled onto the national debt. Sadly cuts in cities like Liverpool is the price that is being paid. In years gone by local government wasted money. Was it really necessary for Merseytravel to spend millions moving from Hatton Garden?

AnonymousMarch 7th 2013.

Putting politics aside, the reality is tens of thousands of people will really, really, really suffer because of the austerity measures. There ought to have been measures to ensure nobody would fall below a certain income level. Councils around here will be making thousands of people redundant between them. They will be chaslng jobs along with everyone else, including long term unemployed. For many people they just cannot afford the drop in income. We'll have the Labour bigwigs swanning around Liverpool in a couple of years thinking nowt of splashing out fifty quid on one meal. That kind of money is all many local families have to spend on food for a whole week.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 7th 2013.

The school of the bleeding obvious just rang and asked when you'll be back, they miss you

William DavidMarch 8th 2013.

Britain is just an experiment now to see how much can be creamed off before it all collapses. This land was STOLEN by the people with the biggest armies. It is not theirs, it never was and it still isn't. They keep it because they perpetuate a MYTH of ownership. These people are truly the scum of the earth and if you think they care about you past the fact that you consume their peurile shit you are wrong. If you're not a good consumer you are surplus to requirements and expendable...left to freeze and starve. Remember these bastards are descended from the ones that KILLED innocent people and enslaved this population using violence and terror.
Go on scratch the surface....what really happened in history etc
Barons and serfs = multinational companies and what they see as peasants. They dangle these crappy little baubles and other shiny bits of junk new car new this new that and people still fall for it....WAKE UP.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 9th 2013.

And chav Primark tat to keep the masses happy

AnonymousMarch 10th 2013.

Labour didn't overspend until they had to bail the banks out

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