Wirral Lib Dems – We’re Proud of What We Have Achieved – But Don’t Want to Continue

How confusing is that for a message.  Last night Wirral’s Lib Dems issued a press statement which said just that.    You can read their statement by clicking HERE    Sadly (and many willl say stupidly) having praised the work of the administration they want to give it all away, abbrogate their responsibility to their last few remaining supporters, and ‘Facilitate a Labour Administration’ in Wirral.    The only losers in all of this are the people of Wirral

Clearly they have forgotton what happened when Labour last controlled Wirral, loss of Lollipop ladies, threats to our Libraries, Leisure Centres and swimming pools, all of these things are now again very real threats.     The Lib Dem Leader says his small group will judge Labour on each decision, clearly he fails to understand that the Cabinet is all powerful and he and his group will have no say in the decision making process.     

Three years with Labour, one year with the Conservatives, now going it alone, is it any wonder no one is voting Lib Dem?

Free Swimming STAYS in Wirral!

Last night, Wirral’s Conservative led Council voted to keep free swimming in Wirral.  As well as keeping it for the over 60s (all year round) and the under 18s (during school holidays), the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Cabinet has also agreed to provide free swimming for children in care AND their carers and also to Wirral residents who are serving in the Armed Forces or are veterans.    Sadly, the same can’t be said of Labour-run Liverpool.  In a couple of days their free swimming ends. 

This is part of our plan to correct the mistakes of the previous administration who wanted to close leisure centres across Wirral.  We’ll be writing to many of the groups who will benefit from last night’s decision and I know many colleagues are writing directly to residents as well.

Change Is Here!

Leader of Wirral Borough Council, Cllr Jeff Green signing the Partnership Agreement whilst Cllr Simon Holbrook looks on

Last night, after 24 years of a Labour led Council, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats joined forces in a ‘Progressive Partnership’ to wrest control of the Council.      Conservative Councillor Jeff Green was elected as leader for four years under the new governance arrangements.  The new local coalition also reflects what’s happening nationally.   Believe it or not, it is the first Conservative-led Council in Wirral for 24 years.  

  • The ‘Partnership’ has 42 of the 66 seats
  • Conservatives hold 7 of the 10 Cabinet portfolios, the Lib Dems hold 3.
  • The Lib Dems do NOT have the leisure and libraries portfolio.
  • We will protect key frontline services 
  • We have implemented a 5% pay cut for Cabinet Members to reduce the cost of politics
  • We will Publish details of all Council spending in excess of £500
  • We will ensure greater involvement with people on key issues.
  • We will work with the coalition Government to freeze Council Tax for Wirral residents

I am delighted and honoured to have been offered the Housing and Community Safety portfolio, and will do my very best to carry out my duties and responsibilities to the people of Wirral.      You can read the partnership agreement by clicking HERE

‘U Turn’ Number 3!

Last night Wirral’s ruling Labour Led, and Lib Dem Cabinet met to determine Wirral Council’s budget for the next 12 months.      I understand they have set a budget that will increase council tax by 1.67% and have built into the base budget for future years a sum that will keep Guinea Gaps bath open.

After the humiliating ‘U Turns’ on the Libraries issue, closely followed by another ‘U’ Turn’ on the Academy issue, it appears that Steve Foulkes and is cabinet disciples have no shame, and have ‘U Turned’ yet again on Guinea Gap baths.    I am of course delighted that this much used, much needed and well love facility will remain, as will the libraries, and they like Guinea Gap will remain because of the tremendous pressure put on by local residents and the Conservatives.

However one has to ask,  why did the Council Leader embark on his Strategic Asset Review, why did he want to close our libraries, swimming pools and leisure centres, he told us then it was because Wirral was in dire financial straights, yet now, he says that Wirral is in a good financial position?     Anyone would think an election was due!   Surely Cllr Foulkes would not be that cynical………… Would he?

New Labour and Lib Dems Say NO!

Tonight I moved a resolution (see below) at full Council, which was seconded by my colleague Cllr Ian Lewis.    Sadly the resolution was voted against by Labour and Lib Dems, including New Labour Councillor,  Ron Abbey and Lib Dem Councillor, Dave Mitchell, who both serve on Merseytravel with me and Ian.    I had hoped they could put politics to one side, so that together we could benefit the people of Wirral, Wales, and the wider Merseyside community.    Clearly I was mistaken! 

1.      Council recognises and applauds the enormous amount of work, time and money that Merseytravel, the Welsh Assembly Government and other stakeholders have put in to the proposals for the electrification of the Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) line. 

2.      Council recognises that linking the line into the Merseyrail Electrics network will bring significant economic benefits to Wirral, Liverpool city region and North Wales, with the obvious environmental benefits.

3.      Council recognises that electrification of the Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) line is, and remains a Merseytravel policy. 

4.      Council is dismayed that the Network Rail assessment of costs for the proposed Bidston-Wrexham (Borderlands) electrification programme, were significantly inflated at £207 million pounds, compared to independent assessments, and have acted as a significant barrier to deliver the electrification programme.

5.      Council believes by integrating management of the infrastructure with service delivery, greater efficiencies and investment can be secured for the benefit of local people.  Therefore Council further supports the efforts made by Merseytravel to take control of the track of the Merseyrail Network from Network Rail, and welcomes the support of a future Conservative Government for such a pilot scheme on the Merseyrail network.

a)      Therefore, Council requests that Merseytravel, working with all other relevant stakeholders, continue to explore all options that may be available to them to deliver electrification of the Bidston Wrexham Line (Borderlands), either in stages, or in its totality, in a format that they believe will be the most cost effective, while bringing the most beneficial results to Wirral, and the wider Merseyside communities.

c)      Council also resolves to support any further changes that will make Network Rail more accountable and responsive to its customers, and to local and regional circumstances and priorities. 

d)   Council is asked to convey the terms of this motion to Merseytravel, and invites the Chief Executive, Director General of Merseytravel to attend a future Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, (to which all elected Members be invited to attend), to give an update on the proposals for the electrification of the Bidston Wrexham Line, and the way forward.