Liverpool’s World Heritage Site still at risk!

threeGraces

The Council must use more than warm words to ensure that the UNESCO World Heritage Site is preserved for generations to come.

Liverpool Lib Dems Culture Spokesperson, Cllr Carole Storey is demanding that the Council do more to preserve the World Heritage Status which was awarded when the Lib Dems ran the Council. Cllr Storey said,

“the report to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, which meets in Bahrain next week, recognises that progress is being made with stronger planning frameworks relating to this site in particular and the City as a whole with its new development framework.

However, it cannot recommend that Liverpool be removed from the list until a revised planning application for Liverpool Waters is submitted by Peel Holdings and accepted by the Council.

This unique status for Liverpool of a World Heritage Site in a working commercial district has been put at risk by the attitude of Mayor Anderson who for 6 years maintained that the status was ‘just a plaque on the wall in the Town Hall’. Last year he changed his mind and we have currently staved off a decision to delist Liverpool by the skin of our teeth.

Tellingly, Liverpool’s is the only threatened status in the developed world with almost all the other ‘at risk’ sites being in War Zones particularly in the Middle East.

The Mayor must do more to get Peel Holdings effectively to the negotiating table with the council and produces a plan which creates employment in the North Docks area but also preserves the employment which arises from the cultural heritage in the City of which the World Heritage Site is the Jewel in the Crown”

WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add

Paris, 28 May 2018 Original: English / French

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION

CONVENTION CONCERNING THE PROTECTION OF THE WORLD CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE

WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE

Forty-second session Manama, Bahrain

24 June – 4 July 2018

 Item 7A of the Provisional Agenda: State of conservation of the properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

 

EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA 

7.     Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 1150)

 Year of inscription on the World Heritage List 2004

 Criteria (ii)(iii)(iv)

 

 Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger 2012-present

 

 Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger

The proposed development of “Liverpool Waters”

 Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

In progress

 Corrective measures identified

In progress

 Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

In progress

 Previous Committee Decisions see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/documents/

 

 International Assistance

Requests approved: 0

Total amount approved: USD 0

For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/assistance/

 UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

 Previous monitoring missions

October 2006: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; November 2011: joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission; February 2015: joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission

 

 Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

  • Governance: Lack of overall management of new developments
  • High impact research/monitoring activities: Lack of analysis and description of the townscape characteristics relevant to the Outstanding Universal Value of the property and important views related to the property and its buffer zone
  • Legal framework: Lack of established maximum heights for new developments along the waterfront and for the backdrops of the World Heritage property
  • Social/cultural uses of heritage
  • Buildings and development: Commercial development, housing, interpretative and visitor facilities
  • Lack of adequate management system/management plan

 

 Illustrative material see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/

 

 Current conservation issues

On 31 January 2018, the State Party transmitted a state of conservation report, which is available at

 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1150/documents/, as well as a proposed Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR) and a set of corrective measures.

 

Following dialogue with the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, the State Party transmitted on 26 April 2018 a revised draft DSOCR and set of corrective measures. The report and the revised draft DSOCR provide information on the following issues:

  • A proposed interpretation and communication strategy focused on positive stories of heritage-led regeneration and on raising awareness of the benefits of World Heritage status on tourism, the economy and well-being;
  • Adoption of the Management Plan by the Mayor’s Cabinet in 2017;
  • Development of a height (‘skyline’) policy and proposed review in 2018-2019 of the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for inclusion in the draft Local Plan;
  • A draft of the Local Plan expected to be submitted for public examination in May 2018;
  • Continued efforts by the State Party to work in partnership with Liverpool City Council (LCC), Historic England, and developers to ensure that planning decisions are informed by Heritage Impact Assessments (HIA);
  • Creation of a Mayoral Task Force of independent experts to provide advice that will assist in avoiding the removal of the property from the World Heritage List;
  • Commitment of all stakeholders and increasing engagement of civil society, in particular Engage Liverpool and Merseyside Civic Society;
  • Additional measures taken to reinforce planning permission procedure, including required neighbourhood masterplans detailing development briefs that re-set maximum heights for individual plots and measures to ensure the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and heritage assets are protected and enhanced including views from, within and to the property;
  • The neighbourhood masterplan for Princes Dock submitted to LCC for approval and the masterplan for Central Dock currently under preparation and being guided by the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL)

The report indicates also that in the opinion of the State Party, the developments within Liverpool Waters to date have not caused harm to the OUV and that Peel Holdings (the Liverpool Waters developer) will not fully implement the illustrative masterplan that accompanied the 2013 planning consent. The report further underlines that no planning permissions for developments that may have a negative impact have been allowed other than the outline consent for Liverpool Waters, which have been guided by the 2009 SPD to be revised in 2018.The DSOCR seeks to ensure that corrective measures that prevent potential harm in the future to OUV are put in place.

 Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The January 2018 DSOCR and its revision (April 2018) following ICOMOS Technical review (March 2018) offer a significant improvement in approach and direction relative to previous draft DSOCR iterations. The DSOCR outlines overall attributes of the property, which contribute to its OUV, and acknowledges the importance of their protection, as well as the significance of the context of the property and its Buffer Zone. Seven objectives are set out as the ‘Desired state of conservation for removal’, followed by 10 proposed corrective measures, together with a timeline for their implementation and proposed progress indicators.

It is promising that Peel Holdings (Liverpool Waters developer) has recently confirmed to LCC that there is no likelihood of the scheme coming forward in the same form of the Outline Planning Consent (2013- 2042), and a new master planning process has started taking heritage considerations into account including HUL approach.

The proposed DSOCR provides a clear indication of intent by the State Party; however, as the State Party has itself foreshadowed, the DSOCR and corrective measures are not yet complete and therefore not in a form that might be considered for adoption by the Committee, as requested in Decision 41 COM 7A.22. Specifically, the current draft DSOCR does not yet incorporate sufficient specific commitment regarding development controls (including specific view line and skyline controls) and reduction to the existing outline planning permission to remove the threats to the authenticity and integrity (and therefore to the OUV) of the property. The DSOCR, as currently proposed, relies heavily on future guideline documents, which are still in preparation, namely, the Local Plan, the Neighbourhood Masterplans, the height (‘skyline’) policy, and the proposed revision to the SPD. Therefore, in order to carry out a full assessment of the adequacy of the proposed DSOCR, it is necessary to assess the content of these documents and to establish a clear commitment by the State Party to limit the quantity, location and size of allowable built form, as specifically requested in Decision 41 COM 7A.22.

In order for the World Heritage Committee to consider approving a final DSOCR, the State Party should consider an alternative process that involves: 1) defining first the specific desired outcome to which the Local Plan, the height (‘skyline’) policy, the SPD and neighbourhood masterplans could then be aligned and, 2) that these documents be then reviewed together with the proposed DSOCR. Those documents would need to be reviewed and agreed by the World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS before they are endorsed by the relevant State Party agencies and adopted by LCC. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Committee reiterate its previous request to the State Party to adopt a moratorium for new buildings within the property and its buffer zone, until the DSOCR is completely finalized and approved.

 Draft Decision: 42 COM 7A.7

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 37 COM 7A.35, 38 COM 7A.19, 39 COM 7A.43, 40 COM 7A.31, and 41 COM 7A.22, adopted at its 37th (Phnom Penh, 2013), 38th (Doha, 2014), 39th (Bonn, 2015), 40th (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions respectively,
  3. Recalls that it has repeatedly expressed its serious concerns over the impact of the proposed Liverpool Waters developments in the form presented in the approved Outline Planning Consent (2013-2042);
  4. Acknowledges the increasing engagement of civil society in the care of the World Heritage property and its status, in particular the organization “Engage Liverpool”;
  5. Although noting that the State Party has proposed a draft Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR), including a set of corrective measures, a timeframe for implementation, as well as indicators; also notes that comprehensive assessment of the proposed DSOCR by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies is not feasible at this stage, as the DSCOR is not yet complete and relies on the content of additional documents, which are yet to be prepared by the State Party, including the Local Plan, the revised Supplementary Planning Document, the neighbourhood masterplans, and the height (‘skyline’) policy;
  6. Further notes that Peel Holdings (Liverpool Waters developer) has recently confirmed to Liverpool City Council that there is no likelihood of the scheme coming forward in the same form of the Outline Planning Consent, and that Peel Holdings is undertaking a comprehensive review of the scheme and drawing up new neighbourhood masterplans taking full account of heritage considerations and recorded commentary by the World Heritage Committee;
  7. Reiterates its previous request to the State Party to adopt a moratorium for new buildings within the property and its buffer zone, until the Local Plan, the revised Supplementary Planning Document, the neighbourhood masterplans, and the height (‘skyline’) policy are all carefully reviewed and endorsed by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies, and the DSOCR is completely finalized and approved by the World Heritage Committee;
  8. Requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, the Local Plan, the revised Supplementary Planning Document, the neighbourhood masterplans, and the height (skyline) policy, or any other relevant document, for preliminary examination by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies;
  1. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2019 a revised DSOCR and a report on the state of conservation of the property for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019 and, in this context, recalls its position expressed in Decision 41 COM 22 – Paragraph 11, in case the State Party does not:
    1. Provide substantive commitments to limitation on the quantity, location and size of allowable built form,
    2. Link the strategic city development vision to a regulatory planning document,
    3. Submit a fully-complete DSOCR and corrective measures in a form that might be considered for adoption by the Committee;
  1. Decides to retain Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) on the List of World Heritage in danger

Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in Liverpool, Royal Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The debt that the NHS and the Country owes to immigrants

2018-06-19 17.55.07.jpg

I was so pleased to see Dr Shiv Pande MBE recognised in an article in the i-newspaper for his service to our City and our Country

I was delighted to be reading a copy of the i-newspaper yesterday to see a big piece about the contribution made by immigrants to our NHS which featured our own Dr Shive Pande MBE.

I have known Shiv for many, many years and he has been a wonderful addition to our Health Service and through his inter-faith work to the City as a whole. He worked for 30+ years as a GP in the Kensington area; helped do all sorts of things with his beloved game of Cricket; and is a leading member of the inter-faith group which has helped heal some difficult faith differences over the years.

Shiv is by no means alone and the dependence on immigrants is by no means over. The Government has had to relax its own rules on immigration because visas were being turned down for people who had been given jobs that no-one else could fill. In Greater Liverpool we have a huge Kenyan community almost all of whom are connected with health issues as Consultants or act in other ways in the Health Service.

Look at the wards and the GP practices. 10% of our medical practitioners at all levels come from the EU and a further 10% from other parts of the World. They do jobs, in many cases, that Brits could do but don’t want to do. Approximately 10% of all posts in the NHS are vacant with the number rising as people from the EU decide not to come or decide to go home because of the uncertainty.

Exactly the same situation exists in social care. There is a 30% turnover of social care staff throughout the UK every year. With the supply of temporary migrants being cut we are facing the closure of residential care homes because we cannot get the vacancies filled. If we paid a decent wage it would help but the supply of people dedicated to the care of others is limited. Off on a tangent, as ever, we also cannot get our strawberries picked!

So that is why I get very angry when I hear that immigrants are using up our health services and stopping good Brits being treated. This statement is simply c++p! Many immigrants are young people and go home. They pay their taxes to keep services going but often go home before they reach an age where they might need to use them. If they decide to stay here they pay their taxes for years (although we did not pay for their education) and are as entitled to use the services as anyone else.

The Government tried to pretend over the weekend that they were going to put more than £20billion of new money in to the NHS some of which was a Brexit dividend. That, of course lasted less than 24 hours as independent forecaster after independent forecaster pointed out that there is no financial dividends from Brexit. Indeed, tax revenues are decreasing; jobs are going and we have had the worst year for investment in the UK economy by foreign companies since the financial crash 10 years ago.

But even if we had all the money that we wanted and call for it will be useless if we don’t have people to be employed.

Can I just give you some sage advice? Don’t get ill and don’t get old. Pray that when your end comes you die in your sleep after a nice day with the family and pray that you do not have a child born with a serious illness who will need medical and social care for the whole of their lives. Be absolutely aware that whatever politicians promise there will be no money to pay for our health needs and no staff to deliver them.

So, Shiv and all your colleagues from S E Asia who came to our Country 50+ years ago. I thank you and salute. I hope that all those people whose lives you have helped over all those years remember the part that an immigrant played in their lives and will welcome others into our country to serve them and their children.

Posted in Health Service Debate | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remembering those whose loved ones made the ultimate sacrifice

2018-06-15 14.37.34

The standard of the War Widows Association and the Royal British Legion were paraded in the Lady Chapel of the Anglican Cathedral today in a service that was quintessentially British

Imagine this nightmare scenario. VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) has been declared. The bells are ringing throughout the land. The dancing had taken place and people are beginning to plan their lives on the basis that sometime soon their boyfriends or husbands would be on their way home and then the war would truly be over.

And then the telegram arrives. Your husband will not be coming home. He died on the last of the war in Europe. Whilst others continued to rejoice, celebrate and plan you had to mourn a loss and in some ways mourn in private so as not to break up others people’s joy.

This story is a true one and is the story of a constituent of mine. Kathleen Woodside. She is now 97 and never remarried and still bears a huge love for the husband who was so tragically taken away from her.

I was thinking about this today as I attended again the Annual Service of the War Widows Association in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral. The Service always takes place in Liverpool because the WWA which is a national organisation was founded by Kathleen and a small group of women in 1971 for those whose loved ones had perished and were having to cope with lives, often involving children, by themselves.

A lot of the ‘standards’ of the War Associations such as those who fought in Normandy or Monte Cassino have now been permanently laid to rest in Churches and Cathedrals over the past few years. However, it is not yet the time for the WWA standard to be laid up. The heroism of our fighting forces, both men and women, means that we are still creating widows and widowers and those people need support.

Some might think that the wars that people died in were not wars – Northern Ireland was a good widow-maker and so was Afghanistan. But this is not a time to make points about just or unjust wars or whether the conflicts were really wars at all. These people died in the service of their Country doing what Parliament required them to do. They fought alongside other heroes who are more easily remembered because we can see them in our communities and can attend to their needs. But the widows and widowers are often left behind in all this and are often truly unseen heroes.

Today was also, in truth a very British Affair. The standards of the WWA and parts of the fighting services and the Royal British Legion were paraded in and lowered at appropriate times. A reading was made by a Squadron Leader of the Royal Air Force. We sang, “I vow to thee my Country” and, “God Save the Queen”. I joined in with these because although I am not a person of religious faith I do try and serve my Country in my own way. I do sing our National Anthem because, whether we like the words or not it is our National Anthem.

So, I will go as often as I can to remember the War Widows Association. So, I will continue to wear my poppy with pride in the run up to Armistice. So, I will continue to support The Royal British Legion; Help for Heroes and SSAFA and all those who help those who survived the ordeals but have become in some way damaged physically or mentally by their experiences. I remember that I can be a politician in a Country where public debate is still relatively free and I can live in a Country where racial and religious hatred is not encouraged by the State but punished by an independent judiciary.

It also gives me the opportunity to remember my Mum and Dad. Mum, who comes from North Liverpool, was engaged to a pilot in Bomber Command called Bill Moorcroft who came from a farming family near Ormskirk. He died and it was only when Mum was about 80 that she went to the grave that was kept for him and his comrades which were maintained by a small commune in France. That commune had a service every year on the anniversary of the deaths of the ‘boys who fought for them’. She marched off to war as a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and never came home again. She met Sergeant Jack Kemp on an airfield in Lincolnshire and the result was marriage which produced my Sister and I!

At the going down of the sun and in the morning I will remember my Mum and Dad and all those that fought for my freedom and even more for those who did not come home and those that mourned them.

Posted in Royal Family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Allerton Road – A great District Centre for all your needs

Allerton Rd day

Come and see what Allerton Road has to offer on Saturday when there will be community stalls at the Farmers Market and the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside will be visiting the Farmers Market and retailers.

Over the past few weeks its has seemed that there is nothing but doom and gloom on the High Street. Chain after chain has gone in to administration leaving property owners desperately trying to find new tenants.

But its not all bad news. In the middle of Church Ward we have the Allerton Road area which, while it is not as strong as it used to be, can still provide you with all your needs at very reasonable prices .

If you want Allerton Road to stay that way you and I need to use it (I do – I’ve just got back from shopping there!) But so many people bemoan the state of Allerton Road and similar retail centres and then go and fill their car with a weekly shop at a big chain supermarket. In many cases the profit from those outlets goes straight out of the area and then often goes out of the UK. How many offshore companies does Tesco have in areas where it does not trade?

When you buy from a local store the owner lives in the area; the profits stay in the area and there is often a multiplier effect where retailers buy parts of their local requirements from each other. It’s a win, win situation for them but it is also a win, win situation for us.

“But” people say, “they are much more expensive”. They can be more expensive, whilst being better value for money, but they are often very reasonable priced when you discount the so-called offers with which supermarket chains lull you into a false sense of security!

So, let’s start with the blindingly obvious! Yes, you can go to the Bank (and there are not many local banks left in South Liverpool); buy a house and get yourself out of jail or a marriage at the local solicitors! But Allerton Road is far more than that. Did you know that Allerton Road has:

  • 2 Artisan bread and cake shops in addition to the normal bread stores.
  • A first-class butcher (Clarks)
  • An excellent fishmonger(Brian)
  • A gift shop selling local souvenirs (Voglios)
  • A quality fruit and veg stores (Dougy)
  • A locally owned pharmacy (Green Lane)
  • Two opticians both local franchises
  • Two places to buy good quality, high end clothing (Maze and Benetton)
  • 6 places to get your hair done.
  • 4 beauty salons and nail bars
  • A shop selling blinds for windows
  • A pet Shop
  • A special café which looks after mums and infants.
  • An undertakers
  • A Post Office
  • W.H. Smith for stationery and books
  • A Vape shop (new)
  • A photographic salon (new)
  • A learning Centre
  • A Gym (opening soon)
  • The Linen Warehouse where you can buy a wide range of linens

Then if you are in search of bargains there are 4 mini supermarkets with Home & Bargains; Iceland; Poundland and Tesco.

And when you have done your shopping there are plenty of places to eat and drink. The nice thing is that almost all the restaurants are local, being owned by the person who runs them or by small Liverpool based companies like Miyagi or Three Little Piggy’s.

So that is where Erica and I do 75% of our shopping. Of course, we go to a bigger supermarket sometimes for big lots of washing powder etc but mostly we can walk from where we live on Dovedale Road to Allerton Road for all our needs.

On the third Saturday of every month. Liz, Andrew and I do our Advice Centre at the Farmers Market. Rain or shine we are there for 4.5 hours alongside the lovely smell of pies, sausages, chees, bread, cakes and veggies (our next one is on 16th.  June.

Allerton Road, like all the district centres in Liverpool, needs your support. Although they are doing relatively well now the market is changing. They act as far more than a shopping centre – they act as a centre of the community. I had half a dozen conversations whilst I was on the Road earlier and its great to see people meeting, chatting and sharing information as they go about their business.

Our communities need such informal meeting places but they cannot function without you using them. It’s the retail outlets and trades people that provide the backdrop for the community to interact. On 16th June we have go the Lord Lieutenant (Her Majesty’s representative on Merseyside) walking around between 12.15 and 14.00 visiting the Farmer’s Market; the additional stalls run by local voluntary organisations; and the retailers.

Why don’t you join him and check out Allerton Road? I think some of you will be surprised at how good it is; how much that you can get there and the quality of what is available.

Posted in Liverpool, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jeremy Corbyn – the Captain Mainwaring of British Politics

Captain Mainwaring

Captain Corbyn desperately trying to communicate his policies to anyone who will listen. The problems is his policies are based on an outdated past and change from day to day

As we approach a hugely important week in British Politics we look at where Her Majesty’s Official Opposition are and we can safely assume that its Warmington on Sea!

The biggest threat to the prosperity of the people of the UK lies not from the Nazis over the water but the fools inside our borders who are haplessly leading our nation into an economic and therefore social depression the consequences of which will last for decades.

What does Captain Corbyn do? He dillies and dallies with no clear leadership about what is needed to be done as the Government finds itself unable to respond to the dire consequences of BREXIT. To use thoughts of another TV soldier, Baldrick, “Does he have a cunning plan?” or is he pursuing his own agenda or does he not understand the consequences of his actions.

Let us be clear what the consequences of leaving the EU are which could be greatly mitigated by staying inside the Customs Union or joining the European Economic Area.

Growth will falter. There is not one reputable economist who is is not predicting a decline in our economy. In fact, predictions are no longer necessary we can already see this happening. 2.5 years ago, we were the fastest growing economy in the EU now we are next to bottom. We need economic growth if we are to put right the appalling social and health problems that we face. Our NHS and Social care services need to get an additional 4% a year. Impossible if the growth rate is approximately 1.25%

Investment will falter and is already doing so. Companies from hi-tech to automotive from engineering to IT services are choosing to invest elsewhere where they no what the investment conditions are. A few bright spots for investment do not conceal the huge drop. Investment in industry and infrastructure is vital if we are to maintain and create the high value jobs that we need to develop a strong economy.

Jobs will go. Again, we don’t need a crystal ball. Jaguar in Speke and Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port have already made major cuts to staff. 2,000 well paid private sector jobs are moving from Canary Wharf to France and Germany. The less jobs the less tax income that they create. But its not only high levels jobs that have gone. Crops are lying unpicked in fields from Scotland to East Anglia which in turn pushes up food process.

Our Health Service will suffer. 10% of all jobs in the NHS and social care are unfilled. People who had intended to stay in the UK are going home. People that we have offered jobs to are unable to take them due to visa restrictions. It is a total myth that immigrants swamp our health services with health tourism. Our NHS is dependent on immigrants to keep the services going that we all need.

Companies are leaving the UK. With them they take their corporate taxes. Already three major firms have made such a relocation. More are waiting for the right moment.

The Irish Border creates huge problems for the island or Ireland. It was clear from the start that a hard border was not negotiable between Eire and Northern Ireland. The EU has for 40 years at our bidding developed a strong and hard border policy. There are numerous places around the EU borders where cultural and national identities are on both sides. Stand firm say the Brits in the EU; give us an exemption say the Brits in leaving the EU.

So, who will suffer most from all this? The poorest people in our communities. Theirs will be the jobs that go first; theirs will be the health requirements that are not met; theirs will be the housing that will decline because of lack of investment. The rich won’t suffer. Just look at Lord Lawson. The Chair of the Leave Campaign has applied for a ‘Carte de Sejour’ which will enable him to live in France where he already spends most of his time. The wide boys and the Chancers will make money out of the difficulties and strife caused by EU withdrawal as they do out of every problem and catastrophe.

But poor people on the minimum wage or dependent on benefits have no ‘carte de sejour’. They are stuck in this Country with no life rafts available to them to float away from the mayhem that Brexit will cause. Labour trolls who follow me always make comments about, “it was all the fault of the coalition”, or “Nick Clegg sold your Party for a ministerial car”. If you think that coalition was bad you’ve seen nothing yet. The Corbyn/May coalition will reduce many of our services to the merest shadow of the already reduced position they are in today.

What is Labour policy on the E.U. Pity poor educated Sergeant Starmer. He clearly offers advice to Corbyn which is ignored. He reads in the paper what Corbyn’s next policy position is and then has to explain why its is not quite what everyone else thinks the policy is or wasn’t really what Captain Corbyn said.

Corporal McDonnell urges everyone not to panic but is unable to identify the effects of the policies he resolutely supports from his Captain even if they did contradict yesterday’s policy statement.

Or just possibly I have got this wrong. Corbyn is only pretending to be incompetent and dithering. He does have a cunning plan which is to take us out of the EU because he believes it to be some sort of capitalist cartel and he would much prefer his believed South America models of Brazil; Ecuador and Venezuela.

At the end of the day precisely why Corbyn is acting the way he does is irrelevant. His actions will lead to a relentless reduction in living standards which will affect those at the bottom most.

We’ve been asked to write to our MPs to get them to vote to keep the Lords amendments intact in one way or another. I will not do that because some of our local women MPs like Luciana Berger; Maria Eagle; Louise Ellman and Alison McGovern have been leading the fight for sanity inside the Labour Party. I can only wish them well. 75% of Labour MPs and 73% of Labour voters believe that the move out of the EU is wrong and that at minimum there should be a first referendum on the facts of Brexit.

No-one voted in the referendum for themselves their family or our Country to become poorer but these are the consequences of the Labour/Tory coalition. Let’s hope that sanity will prevail next week; that Labour men as well as Labour women find a spine and that they will finally fight for our Country and the people who need the resources of our Country the most.

Of course for everyone else the other option is simply to quit Labour. Many have done so in recent months and we welcome them to our Party. You too can join at http://www.libdems.org.uk.

Posted in Brexit | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chelsea Stadium Decision should make Everton think again

Bramley Moore

 Chelsea FC have pulled out of the total redevelopment of their ground citing changed economic circumstances. Will this make the Everton Board reassess their proposal for Bramley Moore Dock?

Liverpool Council’s debt burden is already more than £1 billion in existing or agreed borrowing. This is already more than the debt which swallowed up Carillion. The proposals to borrow money to get the Everton Stadium built at Bramley Moore Dock, therefore, should focus our mind on a series of principles for council involvement in this project.

That is why the news that Chelsea have pulled out of a proposed expansion of their ground citing difficult economic circumstances must make Everton and Liverpool Council think again before proceeding with their own expansion proposals.

Already we are seeing that the £500,000,000 quoted for the stadium is only part of the cost. A further £20,000,000 has been announced for a new road to service the Dock Development and this is just a small part of the infrastructure requirements for this scheme.

Chelsea is a much stronger and more successful club than Everton with a stronger balance sheet and they also have a potential problem of having an overseas owner. In Chelsea’s case a clear problem is where the owner comes from. In Chelsea’s’ case the owner is Russian and has complex business interests. In Everton’s case the owner is from the Middle East, another politically difficult area and has complex business interests.

In the light of BREXIT the Government and HMRC and the Border Agency are paying far more attention to these issues than they did two years ago. They look much more closely at how the money has been earned and the legality of such earnings. I have no reason to suspect that either the Chelsea or Everton owners are doing anything illegal. BUT they will have to spend far more time on proving that as they move money around.

In both cases they are responsible to capricious political regimes which can change policies overnight and order money to be moved. What happens in either club if the money has to go back ‘home’.

These changes in national policy need to be carefully considered and certainly must raise an extra hurdle to the business case which is currently being prepared. I have offered to meet EFC to discuss the wider issues relating to their new and old grounds but to date have yet to have a response from them.

I have also suggested to Mayor Anderson that a process needs to be undertaken which looks at the tight business case for the deal. We have a range of experts looking at this deal who are the same sorts of experts who have been advising on a range of spectacular failures ranging from Northern Rock to Carillion.

We suggested to him in April that the first step should be a full debate about the principles of the Council’s involvement at any level in what is essentially a private sector matter in a club and on land owned by wealthy companies/individuals. This deal is not approved of by the vast majority of people in Liverpool. It was continually being raised on the doorstep throughout the City in terms of both incredulity and disapproval. We know that Labour door-knockers picked this up during the election which has led to the calls from two Constituency Labour Parties for an Open Meeting.

This debate could either be at a Special Council Meeting or as a special item on the agenda of a normal meeting of the Council. Most people agree that it is right that this debate should be had to look at:

  • What is an appropriate level of debt for a council
  • The totality of the Everton Scheme including external infrastructure costs
  • Why two of the worlds richest men, the owner of Peel Holdings and Everton, are not funding the deal themselves if it is such a good one
  • Why they are allowing the Council to make a profit from a deal which is not the way these men can have become rich
  • What will happen in the County Road area and who will pay for it

This a huge project which dwarfs anything that this Council or any other Council has done. We know that Liverpool Council is not good at making deals. The Cunard Building purchase and the proposals for Calderstones Park which are much smaller projects are loss makers and not profit makers. We have yet to see the terms of the loan from the Public Works Loan Board or from potential private sector funding sources but in the case of the PWLB can involve loans of up to 60 years. This is a potential burden for the taxpayers of Liverpool far beyond the political or physical life spans of either Mayor Anderson or me.

Our questions do not relate to whether or not there should be a new Everton Ground. We want Everton to do well. Having two successful Premier League teams in the City is a huge earner for us and creates a strong positive global image.

The questions relate to the reasons for the Council’s involvement as a borrower then lender in all this. Everton is a private company not a public one. Its directors are obliged by law to make decisions on behalf of their shareholders and not the wider interests of the community in which they are situated or even their loyal fan base in the case of a football club.

My job as a Councillor, for which I am obliged by law, is to make decisions on behalf of all the people of Liverpool. I intend to make sure that all facts are out in the open before I make my mind up as to what is the best way forward for the 470,000 citizens currently living in our city and those for generations to come.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Liverpool Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sugar and Salt the New Nicotine!

chips

We need to make a massive improvement to the diets of everyone but especially children if we are to stop what can only be described as the obesity tsunami facing our Country

Regular readers of this blog might feel that I obsess about obesity and especially childhood obesity. Perhaps I do, but my justification for this is the absolute knowledge which is now available from so many sources that we are slowly poisoning our children.

You might think that this is a dreadful overstatement but it is not. I have looked at statistic after statistic and have seen how there is a remorseless rise in the number of people of all ages that are obese. The latest report from the House of Commons Select Committee shows that approximately 5% of 11- year olds are severely obese and that half that are already seriously obese when they start school at the age of 5. On top of that another 25% are recognised as being obese at the age of 11. The figures for Liverpool are worse than the national average.

I sometimes wonder why I go down to London such a lot. I know just about every junction and set of points on the West Coast Main Line. But I was delighted to see yesterday a report which is published today by the House of Commons Health Select Committee. I was heavily involved in drawing up the evidence for this which I then went on to present to the Select Committee on behalf of the Local Government Association. I attach the summary of the report below.

Basically, the Committee accepted every bit of the LGA’s evidence and suggestions and also looked at many areas outside the remit of local government. They endorsed our work and I now endorse theirs in its entirety. This was a united report from all the members of the Select Committee. I was delighted that it includes local MPs such as Lucian Berger (Wavertree) and Rosie Cooper (West Lancs). If ever there was a need for all Parties to come together to deal with an issue this is one of the most important.

But now the report need turning into action. The MPs asked for a whole systems approach to the issue which involves action by schools; councils; the NHS; youth centres; the media; supermarkets and so many more organisations. We can warn of problems; inform people of the amounts of sugar and salt in foods and how to avoid them. I reiterate once more my hope that people will turn to healthier food and drink such as Green Cola instead of branded goods such as Coca Cola with their huge marketing budgets.

So, I have tabled a motion to the next meeting of the Health Select Committee of Liverpool Council. This is it.

“This health committee welcomes the recent report of the House of Commons Health Select Committee. It recognises that obesity currently costs the NHS £6.1 billion each year which does not count the increase in cancers caused by obesity or the muscular/skeletal failures caused by obesity which lead to shorter, unhealthier lives with much more medical and clinical intervention required.

It recognises further strong links between obesity and mental ill health.

It welcomes the work already being done by the Council in combatting obesity at all levels. It notes that this is a problem across all demographic groups but which proportionately affects lower income groups with more restricted food choices available to them.

It requests:

  1. The Director of Public Health and the Liverpool CCG to produce a report on both what is being done and what needs to be done in the City including details and the potential of the Council’s work; health service interventions; youth service interventions and work that could be done with the private sector including retailers to coordinate action to reduce the purchase of food and drink containing excess levels of salt; sugar and trans fats.
  2. The Director of Public Health and Cabinet Member to work with Luciana Berger MP, a leading member of the Health Select Committee, to promote an ‘Obesity Summit’ in which the report can be presented and a full blown anti-obesity campaign can be commenced.
  3. A “Task Group” of this Committee be established to coordinate actions in this vital field”

This is entirely none political; recognises the need for local government and MPs to work together and would place Liverpool in the forefront of actions on this matter. I really hope that the Select Committee will realise the urgency of this and support it and get cracking with it.

This is the overview of the Parliamentary Select Committee’s findings:

Health and Social Care Committee

Select Committee Announcement

30 May 2018

PUBLICATION OF REPORT: CHILDHOOD OBESITY: TIME FOR ACTION

Childhood obesity needs to be everyone’s business, says Health and Social Care Committee

The Government must change the narrative around childhood obesity, to make it clear that this is everyone’s business. So, says the Health and Social Care Committee in its latest report into the subject.

The Government is expected to publish shortly a refreshed version of the childhood obesity plan first published in summer 2016. The Committee has identified several key areas which demand attention as a matter of urgency by the Government before the next chapter of the plan is finalised. The Committee is calling for an effective childhood obesity plan with a joined-up, ‘whole systems’ approach and one which focuses particularly on tackling the ever-widening health inequality due to childhood obesity between the richest and poorest areas.

Marketing and advertising  

The report endorses calls for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising. There needs to be a ban on brand generated characters or licensed TV and film characters from being used to promote HFSS (high fat, sugar and salt) products on broadcast and non-broadcast media, and the Government must align regulations on non-broadcast media with those for broadcast media.

In addition, the Government must regulate to restrict the discounting and price promotions which drive higher volumes of consumption of unhealthy food and drink. This does not need to make food more expensive as retailers could change their offers to healthier products.

We also urge the Government to level the playing field for retailers and act to ban confectionery and other unhealthy foods from the ends of aisles and checkouts. Responsible retailers have requested that this is underpinned by statutory measures. 

Current progress on labelling in the UK is reliant on voluntary commitments and is therefore not universally applied. Calorie labelling at point of food choice for the out-of-home food sector would provide basic information to enable healthier choices.

Early years and schools and Services

The Committee calls for targets to improve rates of breastfeeding, to combat childhood obesity, and urge a full and timely implementation of all of the school-centred measures contained in the original 2016 Child Obesity Action Plan. Local authorities need to be allowed to limit the proliferation of unhealthy food outlets in their areas and the prevalence of HFSS food and drink billboard advertising near schools. Existing powers are not sufficient and we again call for health to be made an objective within the planning system in order to give local authorities the tools they need to make effective changes at local level.

The Government must ensure there are robust systems in place to not only identify children who are overweight or obese, but to ensure that these children are offered effective help in a multidisciplinary approach, and that service provision extends to their families. Throughout our report, we emphasise the need to focus on ‘healthy lifestyles’ rather than using stigmatising language. 

We were impressed by the progress that has been made in Amsterdam using a whole systems approach. 

We urge the Government to go further in making sure that we identify children at risk of obesity at an earlier stage and make sure that they and their families can access the right help. Prevention of obesity however is everyone’s business and the widening health inequality can no longer be ignored.

Chair of the Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, says, “Children are becoming obese at an earlier age and staying obese for longer. Obesity rates are highest for children from the most disadvantaged communities and this unacceptable health inequality has widened every year since records began. The consequences for these children are appalling and this can no longer be ignored. We want to see a whole systems approach and for local authorities to be given the powers they need to reduce childhood obesity in their communities. Health needs to be made an objective within the planning and licensing system.

Government needs to further help reduce childhood obesity by introducing tougher restrictions on the marketing and advertising of junk food, including by bringing in a 9pm advertising watershed. It should also act to protect children by banning the offers and displays that push high volume sales and impulse buying of junk food and drink. I welcome the sugary drinks levy that has already played a vital role in driving reformulation and call for this to be extended to milky drinks which contain added sugar.”  

 

Posted in Health Service Debate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment