Liverpool City Region Leaders Recognise the Success of a Conservative Government!

I am delighted that Cllr Phil Davies, Labour Leader of Wirral Council and Chair of the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Combined Authority, along with the other five Merseyside Labour Leaders recognise the turnaround in the economy and the creation of jobs as a result of a Conservative Government.   This can be evidenced from the following paragraph in the LCR devolution bid.

“The City Region Economy is more resilient compared to the past and well positioned to capitalise on strengthening the UK economy.  Economic growth rebounded strongly in 2013, comparable with its peers.  The number of people in employment continued to grow, driven by the creation of 23,000 private sector jobs since 2010.  The stock of business in the City Region increased particularly through small business growth and higher rates of self employment.”

Well said, Phil, Rob, Andy, Joe, Ian, Barry, Leaders of Wirral, Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens.

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Merseytravel Allowances, HUGE Increases Recommended!

Today I received a copy of the report commissioned by Merseytravel into the Members allowance scheme!

The report, compiled by Declan Hall recommends huge and what I believe to be obscene increases in both basic and Special Responsibility allowances (SRAs) and if approved by the Authority will send completely the wrong message to the workforce many of whom are having to take pay cuts as a result of harmonisation.

When I met with Declan Hall I made it very plain that it did not matter how he cut cut the cake, there should be no overall increase in the amounts paid in total.    His recommendations clearly don’t relate to that at all!

I have attached HERE a full copy of his report, however the headlines of his recommendations are that:  

  • Basic allowances for all 18 members increased from £5675 to £7266 increase of 28.0%
  • Chair of the Authority increased from £24308 to £29813 increase of 22.6%
  • Vice Chair of the Authority increased from £12896 to £17888 increase of 38.7%
  • Chair of Committees increased from £4432.70 to £7453 increase of 68.1%
  • Chair of Strategy and Finance Committee from £8512.95 to £17888 a whopping increase of 110.1%

I sincerely hope (and this is for you Joe) that the controlling Labour Group at the budget meeting of the Authority join me in saying thank you to Mr Hall for his work but ma,king it very clear that no one on the authority will take a penny more than they receive now!

A Huge Loss to Merseyside!

I was gutted to hear today that Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel has decided to leave and take up a new position with Translink in Brisbane, Australia.     I have known Neil for a number of years, and worked with him closely over the last five as member of Merseytravel, he was inspirational, what he does not know about transport you could write on the back of a stamp.   

I suppose Neil leaving the Authority was only a matter of time, and I personally think has been  brought about by the actions of the controlling Labour group at the AGM in June when they did a massive U turn on Vertigral Integration, which, created a huge split between the Authority and the Executive putting Neil and the controlling group at odds with each other.   That, by any stretch of the imagination makes it difficult for a CX to function.     Of course, this has all been compounded by the fact that Labour now seem to want to control and micro manage the organisation, questioning the very role of the Executive! 

Neils going is truly a massive loss for the people of Merseyside and a real catch for the Aussies.   I wish him and his family every success in their new life ‘Down Under’.

The text of Neils announcement is below

Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know personally that today I tendered my resignation as Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel.     It was a hard decision to make and one I spent some considerable time agonising over, but I have received an offer which was too difficult to refuse. 

From Spring next year, I shall be the Chief Executive of TransLink, the public transport authority in Brisbane, Australia.     For me, this is a challenge to make a real difference on the other side of the world and it is the opportunity of a once-in-a lifetime experience “down under”.

I know I leave Merseytravel in good shape to face the future and I am proud of what we have achieved together.   There is much I will miss, in particular the tremendous support I have received from you all during my time here (almost 15 years!).      

I truly thank you for your loyalty and hard work and wish you all every success in the future. 

Regards

Neil Scales OBE,

C.Eng, FI.MechE, FICE, FIET

Chief Executive & Director General

Merseytravel

24 Hatton Garden

Liverpool L3 2AN

Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority AGM (Merseytravel)

Today at 2:30pm  I will be attending my fourth Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority (MITA) Annual General Meeting, being held at Merseytravel Headquarters in Hatton Garden in Liverpol.    Amongst other things the AGM determines the make up of the committee structure for the coming year.  

This year, perhaps more than any other year, and in view of the financial difficulties that the ITA, as well as the country is facing I believe we as elected members need to lead by example and show that we are prepared to reduce the cost of politics within our organisation, by making changes to the Special Responsibility Allowances paid to Councillors.    

I believe we have an opportunity to send a message to the public we serve by making some very simple and sensible changes to the committee structure, that will save between £25,000 and £35,000 a year, on a total cost of some £150,000 currently paid .      This afternoon it is my intention to move an amendment from the floor that will, if supported make substantial savings.     Will the Authority, led and controlled by New Labour stalwort Mark Dowd agree to support these sensible changes?   We will find out this afternoon.  

The AGM is a public meeting so if you want to come along to see what goes on feel free to do so.

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Today is the day that Merseyside new Chief Constable, Jon Murphy officially takes charge of running the Merseyside Police.     I wish Mr Murphy all the best in his new role, he has a tough act to follow in Bernard Hogan-Howe, however I am sure that he will continue the great work that is being done, whilst bringing his own style to the job.    I look forward to meeting him on Wednesday this week when he does his first (in this area anyway) Community Talkback Event at the Village Hotel in Bromborough.  If you wish to attend it starts at 7pm.   You can read what the Wirral Globe has to say by clicking HERE

Arriva Buses, We Had Some Communication Problems With Wirral

Yesterday I attended the Merseytravel Tram and Bus Committee meeting.   Part of the agenda allows Members to ask questions of bus operators over issues of concern.      Inevitably the main topic of conversation/ questions of the bus operators concerned the recent adverse weather conditions and the ensung chaos with bus services with the ultimate suspension of services for safety reasons.     When questioned, a senior Arriva Manager talked of how good some local authorities had been in liaising with them over gritting, holding up Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and Halton as examples of good partnership working!   I asked what working arrangements they had with Wirral to ensure that the gritting enabled a quick return to the provision of bus services?   His answer was diplomatically put as, we had some problems in Wirral’   When pushed further he said  ‘we had some communication problems with Wirral’.       Clearly some discussion needs to take place between Wirral and the bus operators!

In the Charts at Number 17…..

Transport trade magazine, ‘Transit’ produces an annual ‘who’s who’ , entitled Power 50.    As you’d expect, it lists what its panel of expert judges feel is an accurate reflection of who in the UK transport industry wields the most power and influence.   Transit has just produced its Power 50 listing for 2010.   

As the Conservative Group Leader on Merseytravel I was delighted to see that Neil Scales, Director General and Chief Executive of Merseytravel has achieved the lofty number 17 position, ahead of some very prominent people.    Well done Neil, keep up the good work and who knows, next year could be a top ten position.     For the full listing click HERE