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There will be blood...

....allegedly. But can this week's spending cuts actually wound Liverpool any deeper? By Larry Neild

Published on October 21st 2010.

There will be blood...

THE new bridge between Runcorn and Widnes seems to have escaped the coalition spending massacre due on Wednesday.

The city would not suffer the upcoming cuts as bad as many places because most of what we had was taken from us in the 1960s and 1970s

It will mean a ‘Golden Gate’-style crossing spanning the Mersey to ease congestion and daily mayhem on the existing span bridge which, next , celebrates its 50th birthday.

The new bridge will be tolled, with fees linked to charges imposed in the Mersey Tunnels, though the locals will be most restless if they don’t get free or cheap passage.

Take the twin towns under their umbrella name of Halton and I can’t think of any other place where it is necessary to pay to reach the other side of town.

Cabinet spin doctors have been busy feeding the media with tasters of the Comprehensive Spending Review in advance of the announcement by George Osborne at around 12.30pm on Wednesday.

My hunch has always been it will be bad, but not as bad as we had feared, allowing us to breathe a sigh of relief.

I’m always amazed by the gloating of anchor news readers ..... “the BBC has learned”, “ITN can exclusively reveal...”. In other words, media machine wants to feed them the information in a controlled way.

No wonder spin doctors walking that tightrope on a daily basis can themselves suffer the stresses and strains of mediaspinitis.

So it was interesting to read the comments of the Sultan of Spin Alastair Campbell who addressed the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists’ convention at the ACC in Liverpool.

Mr C told delegates that the thousands of job losses likely to result from the Government spending axe could have a damaging impact on health and wellbeing. And around here, s where two out of every five jobs are public sector, the cuts could be wrist-slashingly grim.

Well that’s a revelation. Of course losing your job with little or no prospect of finding work will have an impact of health and wellbeing.

When I served as a Commissioner with the University of Liverpool’s Health is Wealth Commission we took a clinical gaze at the impact on many Merseyside communities of poverty caused by worklessness.

These were not workshy, bone idle scroungers, the type of people ‘adored’ by the Daily Mail and the Daily Express. These were people living in pockets of Liverpool where it’s rare to know anybody in your street with a job. Four generations, in some cases, where people had not worked. How is that possible in the glitzy, show-stopping city of Liverpool. If New York is the city that never sleeps, Liverpool is the city where many never work.

And that is a problem that has haunted Liverpool for decades. Until the 1970s the vast majority of workers were classed as unskilled – though it always struck me working as a docker, a car builder or a production line operative was pretty skilful.

Speaking to a business leader in Liverpool at the weekend, I suggested the city would not suffer the upcoming cuts as bad as many places because most of what we had was taken from us in the 1960s and 1970s.

People in those “barefoot” communities of Liverpool, where workers are an endangered species, are not scroungers, they are survivors who have adapted their lives in the best way they can.

Having said that some sage once said to me .... “When you are lying in the gutter there is only one way to go: Up. My reply: What if you fall down the grid?

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

AnonymousOctober 18th 2010.

We've no need to worry. Joe Anderson will be arriving at Liverpool Airport straight from our expensive jamboree in Shanghai waving a piece of paper proclaiming.... Jobs in Our Time, written in Mandarin of course. The machine, aided and abetted by a very tame and controlled media, will be talking up the jobs and investments coming our way as a result of us spending £3m by having a bit of a display in a far flung corner of the World Expo. Do we all need to rush off to the Pagoda to sign up for Teach Yerself Chinese classes. Don't waste your money.

DougalOctober 18th 2010.

That is extremely cynical. Of course Liverpool will be saved by having Roger McGough and the Scaffold singing Rilly the Pink 12,000 miles away. You are all mindless idiots.

Just sayingOctober 18th 2010.

The Liverpool Daily Post cleared two whole pages this morning to a minor concert two continents away, pictures of Andy McCluskey who was a pop star for a bit in 1980. if this does no represent good value for my council tax money then I don't know what does. There is a place in the P45 queue for every one of the journalists, sorry PR flunkies, freeloaders who enjoyed this.

Ain't seen nothing yetOctober 18th 2010.

The city has chugged along on public sector earnings for decades now. There is about to be a very rude awakening, I fear

SoHo BohoOctober 18th 2010.

Mind your American clichés Laz! I can assure you that New York does sleep. You´ll find more life in Liverpool´s streets than Manhattan´s at 2am. And why ‘Golden Gate´? The Mersey is nothing like San Francisco Bay!

RealJobsOctober 18th 2010.

Loads of signers-on at the Toxteth Job Centre are being forced, oh sorry, encouraged, to attend induction courses to learn have to be shelf stackers in the new Tesco in Park Road. I've heard about going up in the world, but from the bottom shelf to the top one is not my idea of climbing the ladder. Tesco jobs. Every little helps.

DigOctober 18th 2010.

Going from a 'signer on' to working in Tesco is going up in the world. It's going be very good for that community. Although I do miss the lively banter with the alchies that used to congregate at the side of the post office when I went to tax a car.

AnonymousOctober 18th 2010.

Just read the Post and Echo after reading Just Saying. Yes I see what you mean Just Saying. Very objective journalism. One of the by-lines was that of Mark Thomas. Wasn't he the Chief Investigative Correspondent for a while. He really got his teeth into this one, or was it his chopsticks! We'll never get to the truth of how much this oriental enterprise has cost us. Seeing the comments from the line up of Dale Street suits, all there at public (ie our expense) makes you want to through up your bowl of boiled rice.

Penny4theguyOctober 18th 2010.

Liverpool does tend to get it wrong, when there was a Labour Government we had a Lib Dem Council, Now there is a Lib Dem Con we have a Labour Council, just once could we get it right and go with the flow.

Liverpool WagOctober 18th 2010.

That would not be the Liverpool I love, Penny4theguy, and I suspect most people who choose to live here feel the same.

DigOctober 18th 2010.

A Lib Dem Con council in Liverpool!? What a terrible thought. I'd rather have a Klingon council before anything with 'Con' involved.

Blaster BatesOctober 19th 2010.

These people who have never worked will just about survive at their wretched subsistence level in their social housing. Those of us in work who fell for that “property-owning democracy” rubbish are likely to lose our homes as well if we lose our jobs.

Still, with our lives in ruins and a hostile Government to persecute us all, strapping on a bomb and finding a banker or senior Tory to embrace no longer seems so mad or far-fetched when you think about it, does it?

Rednose reindeerOctober 20th 2010.

Training schemes replace dignity with mass unemployment What does this remind me of? Nick Clegg says there will be no repeat of the 80s. Bollocks.

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