Welcome to Liverpool Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Liverpool ConfidentialNews & Comment.

Strange bedfellows, grim times

As 2,000 jobs are axed, Larry Neild on the new coalition in Liverpool bracing itself for the worst

Published on January 31st 2011.


Strange bedfellows, grim times

AS Liverpool woke up to the sound of an axe sharpening on up to 2,000 of its jobs today, the city's 90 councillors will be meeting behind closed doors tonight (Thur) to hear a state of the union message from Leader Joe Anderson.

There have already been calls from Tony Mulhearn to repeat the tactic of 1985 during the Militant era and agree an illegal budget. That’s a no-no.

He will be briefing elected members about the task facing the council as it wrestles with its spending crisis for the coming year.

The council announced today that it is to shed 1,500 jobs with up to 500 more going across the voluntary sector in the next three years as grants to charities are axed. The cuts have been described as "brutal" and would have a "devastating and lasting" impact on services.

But such criticisms have come from the unions, rather than the opposition Lib Dems. Luckily Joe and Warren Bradley are best mates in these strange times. They have buried the civic mace and are walking side by side in an amazing act of togetherness as the city faces a battle for survival.

The enemy is the savage cuts imposed on town hall spending by the Coalition government – it needs to save £141m by 2013. Liverpool stands to lose more than any other city in the United Kingdom of Cameron and Clegg.

I’m not sure whether this friendly hand-holding was a feature during the dark days of WW2, particularly around the time of the May Blitz of 1941, the 70th anniversary of which will be marked this year. But the effect could be similarly devastating.

Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens have agreed to work together on a joint spending budget that will determine the shape and size of the council for the coming year and for the next few years.

The ruling Labour group will have to make some difficult decisions through no fault of its own. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and as there are not so many trees in the city centre perhaps that’s just as well.

So when the grim decisions are made, no matter how many regrets and apologies are expressed, people may point the finger of blame at Labour. There have already been calls from Tony Mulhearn to repeat the tactic of 1985 during the Militant era and agree an illegal budget. That’s a no-no.

The Lib Dems are still smarting after losing control of Liverpool last year, ending a 12-year rule. Many are enraged at Nick Clegg’s decision to climb into the Number 10 double divan with his new best friend. So there’s a high chance of the Lib Dems being punished again in the May local elections.

By joining a budget alliance in Liverpool, they are able to distance themselves from the shenanigans in Downing St.

Taking a leaf out of Cameron’s unbelievable “We are all in it together” mantra, the hope is that a sensible city council, holding hands across the political divides, will convince the PM that we deserve and need a deal that does not plunge us over the precipice.

Liverpool has been known as a hot bed of combative politics. By putting score-pointing politics onto the backburner, Liverpool is creating for itself an ace card.

As things stand Liverpool has to find savings of £91m this year alone.

D Day will come on February 10 when the council learns whether its joint plea has been heard or fallen onto deaf ears. Joe Anderson has pleaded for “easy term” cuts, spread over a few years. On February 23, the council will meet to fix its budget. Politicians on all sides are holding their breath.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2011.

Its as though local governance is being pensioned off. What is the point of local councils if the services they provide are disappearing, why are we paying around £1,500 a year. Local Authorities were originally formed to look after local people and to provide services in a regulated way. Is it any wonder people many of us have turned our backs on politicians. How about them all opting to take no allowances until we are on better times. They wouldn't even go there.

saladdazeJanuary 27th 2011.

"What is the point of local councils if the services they provide are disappearing?" I think that's exactly the point the Tories are making - for all the rhetoric about local democracy their clear ideology is to destroy it and replace it with a willing cadre of yummy me-me-mes, Thatcher and Blair's grasping children. Blobby Pickles had the nerve yesterday to warn councils off cutting the (privatised) bin service, hypocritically ignoring the damage that he is doing to what communities also cherish: schools, housing, community health, nurseries, social services, libraries, sports, recreation, culture, planned development... Other ranters will be able to add to the list. I hope that all you fans of LC will be at the demo on 5th Feb: www.dontbreakbritain.org/…/_leaflet_word[1].doc…

AnonymousJanuary 27th 2011.

Why should they take no allowances? Many of them give up their time to be a councillor, some take time off work to do the job. What sort of service would we get if they did it for free?
Would you work most evenings on council projects for nothing? If you would, why don't you run for office? No? I thought not.

Corpie MackJanuary 27th 2011.

It's the Government at fault, not the Council.

The Tories' pals the bankers have made a big mess and we have to lose our jobs and pensions whilst they watch bigger bonuses than ever rolling into their offshore accounts.

Everything good achieved in Liverpool and Merseyside since the 1970s will be wiped out.

Those with qualifications and skills will flee to find work elsewhere leaving a crumbling and run-down former city populated by the unskilled, the sick and the old, all dependent upon benefits and unable to move away or do anything to improve their situation. This will be even worse than the worst days under Thatcher.

We don't even have proper Job Centres any more.

Mike NearyJanuary 27th 2011.

Is there any need for all this annonymity? These are intelligent points being made articulately, politely even yet no less firm. No need to bury them in the woodwork at a time of upheaval the likes of which none of us have seen for a generation if not more. Colours, masts nails... on your marks....

Veronica KnickersJanuary 27th 2011.

Nobody likes to put their real names, sadly Mike. they like to hide behind anonymity in this timid city in case somebody bad-mouths them for saying what they really think. Good for you in putting your head above the firing line.

Chris BernardJanuary 27th 2011.

I concur @ Mike & Veronica. I appreciate the paranoia - especially as it's clear we are fast becoming a Stazi state and the utterly corrupt and all powerful will use every evil tactic to silence dissent. Remember the call "I am Spartacus!"
As much as I am cynical about the hand holding and attempt at 'solidarity' in the council chambers, the united front is an important start and I hope the momentum continues before the divide and conquer counter attack begins.

saladdazeJanuary 27th 2011.

Mike: I started on this site as a restaurant ranter and am loathe to change my persona - but may do if No Jose Way (who recently confessed to harbouring a passion) reveals their/her/his/it true self. I've been suspecting it's the management taking the p***.

No Jose WayJanuary 28th 2011.

Salad, I am not part of the management but I am most truly a fan of your wisdom.

I will not put my real name either because I work in a council dept - at he moment - and think Joe Anderson should have at least put up a bit of a fight instead of rolling over like a dog.

Now he is cuddling up in a basket with his new mate The Fireman, someone who he did his utmost to discredit via various anonymous;ly authored blogs in the last five years.

Does this mean Storey is in fact still running the council therefore?

I will not do myself any favours if I say so under my real name. Does that make me a coward? Yes. Probably.

MisterDennettJanuary 28th 2011.

I'm not a manager, I don't work for the council, but I do fully understand why people employed (for now) at LCC have to hide their identities. If a council employee made the most coherent and logical case against what is happening they would be targeted for speaking out. This is the real world where democracy has to sit side by side with secrecy. Who wants to be a marked man or a marked woman in this climate. Let us put to one side for a moment the rantings and ravings of the anarchists and the active leftist groups, sooner or later the ordinary people of this city, of this land, will stand up and be counted. The Coalition's activities are causing chaos and heartache and we ain't seen nothing yet. Here's a novel idea why don't we all write to HM The Queen and ask her to have a little regal word with Messrs Cameron, Clegg, Pickles, Shapps and Osborne and telling them to shove off. We could start a Royal Petition and demand they be sent to the Tower.

Joan BurnettJanuary 28th 2011.

Hi
I'm with Mike - I'm not afraid to put my name up on this.
The last time we were in recession I was forced to leave the city to find work that paid a living wage, but do you know what? I'm not going ANYWHERE this time even if I lose my job. Liverpool has changed beyond recognition and we all have to fight to keep that.
It's impressive that the council are working together despite their politics. Last time we were remembered as "the City that Dared to Fight"; let's hope this time we are remembered as "The City That Dared to Fight Tory Brutalism using a Clever Strategic Approach".
Let's support our public sector workers to the hilt - street marches, blogs, letters and the rest to let our government know they can't try to dismantle our city in this way and expect to get away with it.

LA workerJanuary 28th 2011.

So councillors shouldn't have to give up their allowances? They expect us to swallow their medicine in the form of job losses but want to be exempt themselves. Classic case of do as I say and not as I do. Yes, pay cabinet members, but these days the major of councillors have a doddle of a job. There are only a handful of meetings a year and they really don't hold any powers these days. At least the ordinary councillors should slash their handsome allowance by 50% to reflect their easier lives as elected members. Look at the number of married couples on the council and you have to say it's a nice little earner for some households.
Like most things in life the top priority of our politicians, of all parties, is to look after their own interests above everything else. Rather than write to the Queen as somebody said, why don't we all choose not to vote at the next election, show them what a shower they all are.

AnonymousJanuary 28th 2011.

We don't vote. We have the lowest voter turn-out in the country. Barely anyone is arsed voting in Ando's ward.

Rob KingJanuary 28th 2011.

"Let us put to one side for a moment the rantings and ravings of the anarchists and the active leftist groups."

I for one are glad that these rantings and ravings, as you so eloquently put it, exist. The alternative is to depend on those who would write to the Queen for some sort of resistance.
Real name. Colours. Mast. Nailed.

MerseymikeJanuary 28th 2011.

The response of the council is the only option. There simply isn't the option of not setting a budget as one will then be set for them above their heads: the law has changed since the days of Hatton and Mulhearn.

Formerly Of This ParishJanuary 28th 2011.

I posted this in response to Dave Bartlets blog so I may as well repeat it to his old oppo Laz.

There should be no job cuts until the leader of the council makes clear their intentions on dealing with the issue of the Liverpool Direct Contract. We are already told that we are being overcharged by £10 million per year due to the opaque accounting, That should be backdated and recovered. There is about £50 million of the required savings.

That would reduce the annual contract price to £60 rather than £70 Million. Then there should be a decision made on the value for money aspect, how much time LDL staff spend on external work for which LCC does not receive a penny and a return on the money we should have received as a supposed joint venture partner since they were created.

Then we should re-cover the cost of the IT equipment that has been charged to the city at 3 times the high street price with an additional £2000 annual service charge on each PC or laptop. Then we should look at any savings to be made by answering our own damn telephone calls with direct lines to the people who can actually assist you.

A 24 hour telephone IT access service at £70 million a year is a luxury we cannot afford. And if there is any question of cutting services then it is one we will not need. So before any individual is made redundant I suggest the city council stop being cowards or hiding the facts and deliberatly delaying the investigations that they first sort this substantial part of the required savings being handed to an organisation that is not and can never be value for money.

LDL sorted openly before a single job is cut!

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
OR CREATE AN ACCOUNT HERE..
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants

Anonymous

I agree with the Councillor. His examples really don't go far enough, because of the complexities…

 Read more
Anonymous

Perhaps a "dolmus" system could be used in the city centre, they work quite well for tourists and…

 Read more
Fairminded

Not price related but sad to see that they are doing away with the Citylink bus. This runs around…

 Read more
Anonymous

Thank you Woo

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2017

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code