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Services slashed as council tax rises less than 2pc

Swimming pools, leisure centres, libraries close and huge cuts to adult and children's services

Written by . Published on March 6th 2014.


Services slashed as council tax rises less than 2pc
 

LIVERPOOL Town Hall, predictably, was transformed into a Fort Knox last night as councillors met to set the council tax for the coming year. 

The security cordon thrown around the historic building was to be expected, given the depth of feeling. 

Was it a futile exercise for the ranks of protesters on Dale Street, drawn from men, women and children of Liverpool, both young and old? Of course not. 

Liverpool City CouncilLiverpool City CouncilThe citizens of Liverpool deserve and need the chance to vent their anger. In the world some countries are starved of food, in Liverpool the city is starved of cash. 

Expecting David Cameron or George Osborne to see the light and send a money-parcel to embattled Mayor Anderson would be harder than believing in miracles. 

And so it was the budget for 2014/15 was duly set, with bills rising a fraction under 2 percent (this avoided the need for a legal referendum). 

There were those who believe today’s politicians should follow the example of the Militant-led council of the 1980s by refusing to set a budget. It was never going to happen. Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary would have sent in his “men” to run Liverpool. 

The problem for Mayor Anderson is this: by producing a three-year spending plan to “force” the council to live within its means, is tantamount to telling those who live at 10 and 11 Downing Street SW that they were right all along. 

Now we will all sit back and watch as the cuts bite hard: libraries, facilities for the old, the disabled and the young. Swimming pools will run dry – Park Road, Dingle and Everton will have their plugs pulled altogether. Mayor Joe is finding his cupboard bare – and has to find savings over three years of over £150m. 

Everton Park Lifestyle Centre To GoEverton Park Lifestyles
Centre To Go
Should Cameron hang on to the keys of Number 10 in May, 2015, the smart money is on the vice tightening even more. Expecting the city to run on nothing more than fresh air is the ultimate green economy. 

The new council tax will mean people living in Band A properties, which make up most homes in Liverpool, will have to pay an extra 40p a week. 

 In a nutshell this is what it means

** £42m will be cut from Adult Social Care over the next three years. This includes a proposal to significantly reduce the number of day centres provided by the council.

** There will be a £16m cut in Children’s Services, leading to a significantly reduced number of council-run Children’s Centres.

** Libraries will have to save half a million this year, on top of the £1m cut imposed last year.

** Lifestyle Centres will have to save £4m with the phased closure of Park Road and Everton Park centres, starting with their swimming facilities.

** School crossing patrols will have to hang up their lollipops 2015/16 unless schools pay them.

** Hundreds of council jobs – the number has yet to be decided – will also go., along with investments in pelican crossings at key sites. We will work with schools to see if they can individually fund the patrols once the budget saving is made. 

 

'Forget post-second world war, forget what happened in the eighties - these cuts are far, far worse than any of those challenges'

Mayor Anderson’s message to the people of Liverpool: “Over the last 12 months I have lived and breathed this budget and it doesn’t become any easier over time.   We are facing the biggest financial challenge this city has ever had to face in its entire history. Forget post-second world war, forget what happened in the eighties - these cuts are far, far worse than any of those challenges. 

I did not become Mayor to implement such devastating cuts or to dramatically affect people’s lives and services.  But I did become Mayor to lead this city and to act on behalf of its people. I became Mayor knowing I had to make hard decisions, the right decisions at the right time and to take this city forward. 

Cllr-Joe-Anderson-4-620X350
I have heard from service users, residents and staff about the devastating impact the cuts are having and will have on their lives. Their stories are heart breaking, but I’m sad to say, they weren’t surprising.
 

It is clear that we are in this on our own – no-one is going to save us from the Government funding cuts. We have been dealt our cards and it is up to us to arrange them in whatever way we can. It is up to me as Mayor and all elected members to work together in order to get through what is going to be a very challenging time. 

That’s why we’re doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable, Using the Council’s own money to minimise the impact of the Government’s Council Tax benefit cut, supporting Credit Unions with £1 million and helping foodbanks with the Mayor’s Hope Fund. 

But these challenges will be overcome if we grasp the opportunities; if we are willing to keep an open mind, think differently and be prepared to do things differently; efficiency can be the driver of our most innovative ideas. 

If we want to keep hold of services, if we want to spend money on our young people, our old people, safer, cleaner and greener communities then we have to generate the funding to do it and we have to be resilient and imaginative in what we do. 

The fact is that Liverpool today is a thriving city - a confident and exciting place, a place buzzing with excitement about its future, which is sound and secure. 

We are a city that is rebuilding itself after years of difficulty. We are overcoming the challenges we face, and we are seizing the opportunities we have. 

These cuts are going to make things very difficult - there is no doubt about that. But together we will get through it and together we will move forward.”

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

Patricia ObrienMarch 6th 2014.

cant believe a labour council is doing the torys dirty work for them,what about the campaign to get people and children more active because of obesity then they close our facilitys down ,hypocrites ;;;;; penalise the bankers and fat cats who got us into this mess ,its always the poor who have to suffer ,dont think those councilors who voted for these cuts will get elected come may .

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 6th 2014.

What refreshingly novel point of view!

AnonymousMarch 7th 2014.

excercise may help but most people avoid obesity by not eating too much and you can still do that.

AnonymousMarch 7th 2014.

True enough, but it's always best to blame someone else for your shortcomings and failures, thus preserving your victim status and your ability to complain about all the things that "They" never did :-) Usually accompanied by the words "shockin'" and Deesgustern"

Absinthe & TurksMarch 7th 2014.

There's little point in providing gyms for exercise if people are driving there!

Archbishop Right-OnMarch 7th 2014.

It's like a meeting of Daily Mail readers in here all of a sudden...

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

But great fun watching the clash between them and the slack jawed mirror readers and the ones who once ate some chips that were wrapped in a copy of the socialist worker

mickeydrippin'March 6th 2014.

If Mayor Anderson had refused to set a budget and to implement any cuts, severe-looking people carrying bulging brief cases, would be alighting from the next Pendolino from Euston. Joe would then be side-lined and civil servants would run the city under Eric Pickle's instructions. Whilst not liking any of the proposed cuts, I would rather have such decisions made by local people than faceless bureaucrats from Whitehall.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyMarch 6th 2014.

I walked past the demo outside the town hall. All I heared was "30 years ago Liverpool Stood up"... No mention of the consequences of this standing up that we still live with today.

scousescousescouseMarch 8th 2014.

"Liverpool stood up" 'cos some scouse wag stole all the chairs!

AnonymousMarch 7th 2014.

The 90 councillors each earn over £10k just for being elected. Wonder how many send their pay checks back to Mayor Anderson saying, hey the city is skint, I don't need this. A good guess would be NONE. On top of that dozens of councillors also receive thousands of pounds EXTRA for what are called special responsibility allowances. So they are actually being paid to close down our children's centres, swimming pools, libraries, etc etc. Effectively between them our councillors earn between them around £1.5m a year, and guess who foots the bill???

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Naz DaqMarch 7th 2014.

£10,000 a year? That's outrageous! I bet they bathe in champagne!

U. B. PhaughtyMarch 8th 2014.

That's more than double the value of Job Seekers' Allowance! These Councillors must be eating caviar off gold plates!

Bill MajorMarch 7th 2014.

Closing down the swimming pools in Dingle & Everton, again copying the Tory mantra: we're all in this together - are we? Two of the poorest areas of the city. Likewise Adult Care services, children's centres and libraries. 40 jobs going at the Liverpool Museum, Libraries closing. Liverpool One is thriving making massive profits for the stores and the developers.Mayor Anderson says "these cuts are going to make things difficult etc" Difficult for the poorest, most vulnerable. Joe Anderson is presiding over Public sector decline & squalor and rising private wealth.Perhaps it would be better to let Pickle's civil servants come in and run the city (down). At least we would know who to blame.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
Archbishop Right-OnMarch 7th 2014.

Yet among all of this Joe finds 2 million plus to give to creator of the giant puppets...

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

Think of it as an investment soft lad, ie the millions that will flow in from all the visitors? Not that complex is it really?

Archbishop Right-OnMarch 8th 2014.

Investment you say? what is this sorcery you speak of?! I see one or two days with the puppets makes more economic sense than gyms and libraries being open all the time constantly generating revenue...

John BradleyMarch 8th 2014.

The Cash for the puppets is central government cash, specifically for WW1 centenary.

mickeydrippin'March 8th 2014.

If libraries remain open all the time, how are they going to constantly generate revenue? Will they have to charge an entrance fee? they don't now!

Archbishop Right-OnMarch 8th 2014.

Easy answer, late fees, photocopier use, dvd rental etc...

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

Piss o piss then, license to print money! At 10p a copy the corpy will be brewstered in a few days! Thanks for the economics lesson Mr soros

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

Ah yes, libraries and council gyms, those two great money spinners? I heard warren buffet was getting into all that too, secrets out now

Slightly FoxedMarch 8th 2014.

Libraries don't make money, they are a proper public service that is free of charge and promotes social mobility by offering free education to anyone curious enough to be dissatisfied with trackies, scousism and Radio City. Potentially they are a far greater source for good than many of the usual council services that people bleat about losing. To close them to save a few bob is to criminally undervalue both the libraries and the Liverpudlians who use them now and those might have used them in the future.

8 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

Yours is an outmoded point of view, everything you need for self improvement can be found online now, using libraries for that is anachronistic

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

What a nit you are anonymous. Not everyone can afford to be online or has access to a computer or modem or even knows how to use it. But they can get online free at Libraries, using their computers and staff will show them how to do it.

John BradleyMarch 8th 2014.

One of the big uses of Libraries is going online. If you want to access scientific journals it online, you have to pay often the libraries provide free access. They also have a selection of professional periodicals, which you have to either buy via subscription of paid online access. Then is the benefit of setting an environment with people working. If you go in the central library beyond the 1st floor the library is used for study. It is the one bit of academic/education that is open to us all. The central library would be improved no end with a return to the rules about quiet and the provision of some decent tea.

Slightly FoxedMarch 9th 2014.

Quite right, chaps. Even if you have an Internet connection, nearly all the freely available content is rubbish (apart from 'Liverpool Confidential' of course). Serious reference materials and scholarly research sources are all available only by quite pricey subscriptions as held by colleges, universities, big companies and public libraries.

PoindexterMarch 9th 2014.

One must assume that 'Anonymous' is one of those chumps who considers Wikipedia to be a reliable source of impartial information!

John BradleyMarch 9th 2014.

Wikipedia is a good source of references. Any source is only as reliable as its references. Wikipedia is at the point where it is the quality of the reader which matters.

PoindexterMarch 10th 2014.

Wikipedia can be a good START to research but in itself it is unreliable because anyone can mischievously edit the content (as in the page for Esther McVey last month) and if you cite it as a reference in an essay rather than a reputable source you will receive low marks and be a laughing stock.

John BradleyMarch 10th 2014.

The fact that anyone can change it also means that anyone can also undo such edits and fix genuine mistakes. The flaw in your argument is that you don't take into account the possibility of errors in other encyclopedia and how they are difficult to fix. A Wikipedia article on McVeil is far more likely to be accurate than that written by a journalists. The articles claimed to be problematic are normally are normally biographical, whereas the vast majority of Wikipedia is very technical. In the Humanities great store is put in who wrote something, and the lack of a famous author detracts from the value of an article, to people who follow such subjects. The humanities are not very rigorous and this is shown by the importance of author, more rigorous disciplines rely on what is said not by whom. Who is laughing at your citions any way? I've used it several times and not had any problem or comment. Though they usually looked like this en.wikipedia.org/…/Bayes%27_theorem… en.wikipedia.org/…/It%C5%8D%27s_lemma… If needed you can cite a particular revision, again most technically minded people know this.

AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

If these councillors and the Mayor really cared about the city and the impact of the cuts, they wold sell their homes, clothes and all their possessions, they would give away their salaries from full time jobs, hand back any payments they receive as councillors hand their clothes to Oxfam and any remaining food they have should be dropped off at the nearest foodbank. Then they should publicly starve themselves and walk barefoot and naked around exchange flags shouting "Booooo Tories" until they collapse and die. Not only would that would give us savings of about £90,000 from the £156 Million cuts but it would really show those Tories and Lib Dems what us scousers are made of. And it would all end happily ever after.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 8th 2014.

Do me a favour, you ever tried some serious milfology at the liblab? Not a chance

AnonymousMarch 10th 2014.

Mayor Anderson and a team from Liverpool are having to fly to the French Riviera this week for a property conference. Poor things, having to spend time in Cannes. The usual thing is for some red hot exclusive to appear in the paper, as if a deal was only done and dusted as a result attendance at what has been described as one of the world's biggest junkets. It would be interesting to know how much this little adventure is costing the council and how much longer one of the doomed children's centres could have continued had that money being used there instead.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
John BradleyMarch 10th 2014.

Once went to a show in Cannes at this time of year. Easy Jet to Nice, Coach to Cannes stayed on the edge of town. It was not expensive, less expensive than similar shows in London. Like all summer resorts can is empty in the winter, the shows are a way of padding out the year. Though the thing to watch out for is the Restaurant Bill. It is only 14 miles from Nice which is cheaper.

mickeydrippin'March 10th 2014.

If Joe Anderson and team want to bring jobs and prosperity back to Liverpool, they will surely have to travel (sometimes outside the UK) in order to meet potential investors. If they did not occasionally board a plane or train to attend such meetings and conferences, voters will soon be accusing Joe of just sitting on his backside in Liverpool, whilst Richard Lees of Manchester and council leaders elsewhere are are going out drumming up business for their towns and cities.

AnonymousMarch 11th 2014.

I wouldn't have thought you were allowed of the country JB

John BradleyMarch 11th 2014.

Nice to know.

Katie54March 13th 2014.

While Cameron et al won't be sending a money parcel, we may well get one from LDL or BT. A few days ago, in a recent response to an FOI request, the Council stated that LDL earned £34.6 million doing work for third parties in 2007-2011. We don't yet know the figures for the three years since then (£15-20 million, if the previous years are anything to go by). There's a nice little table in the response which also sets out the Council's share, as owner of 40% of the company and the people who actually pay all the wages. You'd think we'd get a 40% share of the profit. But not a penny of this has ever been declared in LDL's annual accounts), so we get a kind of commission - 1.25% of the turnover. Or 1.9% if taken in kind (expensive LDL proposals that meet the Mayor's priorities), which is what has been received to date. That means a princely £432,200 in cash - or £656,900 work in kind contribution to the Mayor's Development Fund. So now that the Council is finally getting control of the whole thing, maybe they'll look at LDL's real accounting records (as opposed to the ones they submit to Companies House that only show income from the Council) and find out how and where all those millions went (apart from the bonuses for McElhinney and his team, which we already know about). In which case surely we should get a substantial "parcel" (reimbursement of equipment and utilities paid for to enable upwards of 300 people to do all this extra stuff, a contribution to the salary bill, and... a proper share of the profits.) The details are here: www.whatdotheyknow.com/…/legal_obligations_of_staff_answe… (actually another request - they posted the answer in the wrong place).

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