Blow me down. I agree with Maria Eagle about May 3rd!!

Garston

For some reason I seem to have been included in a mailing from Maria Eagle the Labour MP for Garston & Halewood. You can see part of it below. I left out boring pictures of people out campaigning and details of where to go and help.

Don’t worry Maria I am already out on the doorsteps in your Constituency. I’ve just got back from delivering for Norman Mills in Cressington and I will be back doing things for him on Wednesday!

Are Labour panicking in Liverpool? Far be it from me to comment but it certainly looks that way!

Can I just remind everyone that everything we say in our Lib Dem leaflets can be checked independently. We are also the only Party to publish a manifesto in this local election so you can also test in future on what we say we will try and do.

That’s openness, honesty and good governance.

Members Newsletter
Dear Member,

Below is my newsletter giving you the latest on the work I have been doing over the last week as the Member of Parliament for Garston and Halewood.

Best wishes,

Maria Eagle MP

 

With the polling day for local elections on 3rd May fast approaching, Labour have been out campaigning right across the constituency to encourage people to support our council candidates on the day.

Three of our Garston & Halewood wards are at risk from the Lib Dems, who are continuing their campaign of spreading lies and misinformation to try to swing the vote. It’s important that we have as many members on hand in every ward to make sure that they don’t succeed.

Advertisements
Posted in Liverpool Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

LIVERPOOL LIB DEMS KEY PLEDGES ON CLEAR AIR RECOGNISED BY UK100

UK100 Social Graphics-31

Liverpool Lib Dems local council has been recognised by the clean air group UK100 for meeting stretching clean air targets. As the only Party that has produced a manifesto we probably won’t be joined by other Liverpool Parties!!

Group agrees UK100’s three-point Clean Air Commitment ahead of local elections

  • Pledge to plan out dirty air by stopping the Lime Street and Strand road works, and ploughing resources into local road improvement, safety schemes and the implementation of new bus and bike lanes instead.
  • Pledge to involve the community in air quality plans by reforming council select committee membership to include members of the public and local business community.
  • Committed to ambitious local projects to cut air pollution such as support for cleaner taxis and a Clean Air Zone, introducing a bike hire scheme, and a car ban on streets near schools where there’s bad air quality.

 

Liverpool Liberal Democrats has today announced it is supporting the UK100 network’s Clean Air Commitment as part of its manifesto for May’s local elections.

 

Group Leader, Cllr Richard Kemp has promised that the Liberal Democrats will use their enhanced number of councillors in Liverpool after the vote on May 3, to try and implement a number of measures designed to make the air cleaner across the City.

 

These include reviewing cycle and bus ways with a view to improving and expanding them, creating on street charging points for electric vehicles working with all owners of buildings to make Liverpool Carbon Neutral by 2030. encouraging greater use of buses and trains, walk to schools schemes and all this would mean the council would be aligned with the Clean Air Commitment promoted by the UK100 network, which is designed to encourage local political leaders to tackle the issue within their area and build public support for action.

 

The Commitment is designed to be both ambitious and flexible and asks local leaders to commit to 3 out of the 4 UK100 pledges. These include having a named Cabinet member with ‘Clean Air’ in their title and having a partnership board or body that involves both local people and local businesses so they can all tackle air pollution together in their community.

 

UK100 works closely with councils who want to reduce air pollution to develop and deliver ambitious plans to tackle the problem and to assist them with finding ways to to gain more support from central Government.  UK100’s central pledge to commit to 100% clean energy by 2050 is supported by 87 leaders, Mayors and Metro Mayors nationwide.

Polly Billington, Director of UK100, added: “Liverpool, like many other UK towns and cities, needs leadership on air pollution. We welcome the pledge by council candidates across the country to make clean air a priority. Residents want action to deal with this public health crisis.

 

“The Clean Air Commitment gives candidates the chance to show their determination to act on clean air, making it a priority and involving the public in devising solutions.

 

“We hope it will inspire other leaders across the political spectrum to be a force for good when it comes to finding innovative and successful ways to drive down air pollution and ensure their constituents can live a healthier life.”

 

For more information, please contact: Richard Kemp on 07885 626913

 

About UK100

UK100 is a highly ambitious network of local government leaders, which seeks to devise and implement plans for the transition to clean energy that are ambitious, cost effective and take the public and business with them. It supports decision-makers in UK towns, cities and rural areas in their transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. It is the only network for UK local authorities focused solely on climate and clean energy policy. The leaders made the commitment as part of the momentum around the Paris Agreement in 2015, reflecting the leadership shown by mayors globally on climate change and clean energy. Turning those commitments into reality is the goal of the network. UK100 connects local leaders to each other, to business and to national government, enabling them to showcase their achievements and learn from each other. It enables them to speak collectively on how to accelerate the transition to clean energy locally and nationally.

 

The Clean Air Commitment

The UK100 Clean Air Commitment consists of four pledges. UK100 is asking council candidates to commit to at least three.

 

Cabinet Member with “Clean Air” in their title

Ensure a portfolio holder is visibly accountable to the public for tackling air pollution. Very often the responsibility is spread across a range of portfolios (environment, transport, public health) which risks confusion for residents and businesses. Including Clean Air in the title of one portfolio holder will reduce this confusion and enable joined-up working across the administration.

 

Plan out dirty air to make a healthier borough or city

The bigger and more polluted cities and London boroughs need a real shift in transport from an over-reliance on cars to walking, cycling and affordable public transport accessible to all. Smaller towns and cities need to plan for growth that doesn’t increase ill-health and a reliance on polluting vehicles. Such measures might include: Reducing the number of parking spaces in new-build homes, installing electric car charging points or making the area safer for pedestrians by installing more crossings or increasing the width of pavements.

Create a partnership or steering group that includes members of public, businesses and council

Residents’ support is critical for adopting and implementing any change to current polluting lifestyles. If they are involved and supportive of the actions and plans by the local authority they will support measures as ambassadors, building support across the community.

A pledge adapted to local needs
UK100 wants those standing in local elections to show their commitment to, and understanding of, air pollution by pledging one ambitious additional local project. This could include support for cleaner taxis, creating car-free streets, or a bike hire scheme. For London, UK100 is asking councillors to pledge support for the ultra-low emission zone, extended at least to the North and South Circular and the low emission zone for HGVs to come in as proposed.

Posted in Liverpool Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The gaping hole at the heart of Liverpool Council

LpoolTH

The Councillors who debate and discuss in the Town Hall do not ‘run’ Liverpool they ‘lead’ it. That’s why getting the right management team in place must be a vital priority for our city

In the council’s budget meeting in 2017 the Lib Dem Group proposed major changes in the way that the senior management team operated. We argued that the election of a City Region Mayor should change not only the way politicians work but also the way that our senior management team will work.

For obvious reasons we have concentrated on the political side of things. We believe that Joe Anderson is a spare mayor and that this position with attendant hangers on and political and staff appointees is both costing about £300,000 and is halting the development of crucial economic development functions which are now really the domain of the City Region Mayor.

We saw this quite clearly at the MIPIM bash in Cannes when we sent over two Mayors. You could see from the pictures displayed both in the Echo and on Twitter that this was not a successful tag time fighting in partnership for Liverpool but were uncomfortable with each other. This was confirmed by others who went to the event from the private sector. The most common question asked of them is ‘what do the Mayors do?” followed by, “which Mayor do we talk to?”

But we now need to look at the managerial side of the Council where there are huge holes at the level where managerial and technical acumen is most needed.

As is well known we have no Chief Executive! Do we need one now? Well we argued that the post should be deleted because of the creation of the LCR and that the key function which was needed should be an enhanced regeneration role. We therefore proposed that a new post be created which would combine the position of Regeneration Director with that of the Head of the Paid Service.

Since May last year we have had a ‘Head of the Paid Service’. This is because the Council must legally have one. I have not yet on any occasion since last May seen the Head of the Paid Service at anything and can only assume that the appointment at present is a fig leaf.

We do however, have Tony Reeves working for us and he has been with us since October. All the reports that I have seen indicate that he was an excellent Chief Executive of Bradford and we are lucky to have him working for us. That may well be the case but since he arrived in the autumn I have not met him or seen him. I have no idea what he is doing and I have no idea what we are paying him. I do know that whatever it is that he is doing he is going to be doing it for at least three more months!

Is he acting as a quasi-Chief Executive? If he is than Liverpool is clearly breaking the law because all such appointments temporary or otherwise must be made by full Council. He has left Deloittes (I think but certainly one of the big firm of advisory sharks) to set up his own businesses. Is he now being paid through a management company which is the device used by the BBC to avoid tax? I don’t know because none of us have been told.

The person who would normally step up and be an interim Head of the Paid Service is the Director of Resources. A slight problem here because we don’t have one! As is well known she left us abruptly after being off ill. No steps have been taken to replace her yet. A more junior officer is currently filling the role of 151 officer and Director of Resources. The 151 position is an important one because this post holder has a statutory duty to prevent illegal or over spending. So, this is a position that must be filled and given the prospective deals for up to £500,000,000 in EFC and other potential investments in the mind of the Mayor it needs to be followed by a highly competent and respected person.

Our other main amendment at the 2017 budget meeting was the creation of a new post of Director of People Services which would combine the positions of Adult and Children’s Services. Legally we must have a senior staff member named in these two positions. But in almost half upper tier authorities these posts have been combined into what is basically a social services department.

This is the right thing to do. The education element has become a relatively small part of our work since the creation of Free Schools, Academies and Local Management of Schools. Our education service is a poor one in Liverpool and its improvement would best be served by the creation of a strong position of ‘Director of Education’ in an enhanced post of Assistant Executive Director.

The social services element is important. Between them Children’s and Adult Services take up approximately 75% of our budget. They often deal with the same people and the same dysfunctional families. Take someone, for example, who has severe mental or physical problems. We deal with them through Children’s Services until they are 18 (slightly different ages for some circumstances) when they move to Adult Services. It’s the same people in the same council. Why not just put them together? Similarly, with dysfunctional families where we are dealing with people of all ages and we need and do look after them on a whole family basis.

We have the opportunity to make this change now because our excellent interim Director of Adult Services is, apparently, leaving us next year and we have recently appointed a top-level Children’s Services Director.

Together these changes would save more than £600,000 which would be better directed at front line services. More importantly they could be used to create a strong and vibrant top team capable of taking us through the shark infested waters which lie ahead.

A little bit of this appears in our election manifesto which you can find at www.liverlibdems.org.uk. But this is not the stuff that excites people on the doorstep. However, we know that if you do not get the basic structures of management right you cannot deliver cost effective and efficient services. As politicians we need to grapple with the creation of this top team as a matter of urgency.

Posted in Liverpool City Council | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambitious for Liverpool – the Lib Dem Manifesto for change

Chamber

Every single Liberal Democrat Councillor elected on May 3 will be another voice for probing, reviewing and holding Joe Anderson  and his team to account. Read our manifesto today

Today Liverpool Lib Dems have launched our manifesto for the May 3 elections with a pledge to do their best to keep Liverpool in the EU.

It may seem strange to launch a local manifesto on an international issue but Liverpool is a major global city. As we said at the at time of the launch of the Capital of Culture, “We are the World in One City”. Therefore, everything that we seek to do locally is dependent on international trade and especially on our links with Europe.

Locally or nationally we can all make promises about spending but unless we stay in the EU or at least the single market there will be less money available to meet the many social needs of our city.

Elsewhere in the manifesto the Lib Dems are suggesting major changes in the way the City is run with an improvement in scrutiny and oversight of the Mayor and Cabinet and a renewed pledge to abolish the position of the City’s Elected Mayor.

They will also establish a methodology to ensure that the Council, in terms of both political and managerial leadership, is representative of the gender, faith and ethnic balances in the City as a whole.

Environmentally the Lib Dems are renewing their pledge to protect both the World Heritage Status and the parks and green spaces of Liverpool. An eye-catching pledge is to help create ‘vertical farms’ in unused buildings to grow both fish and plants using hydroponic methods to provide good food, free from chemicals with no chemicals used in their growth.

We have pledged to cancel the controversial Kingdom ‘litter contract’ as soon as possible.

In terms of transport we will seek to stop the Lime Street and Strand road works and use the money instead for local road improvement and safety schemes and the implementation of new bus and bike lanes.

We have proposals for improving health including encouraging all schools to develop ‘mile a day’ walking programmes and programmes for helping people buy and cook healthier food and drinks.

For housing the Lib Dems will use the new Local Plan to reduce the number of student homes and will work with the Government and other agencies to deal with the problems of half-built developments all over the city and e available land for housing for families and not student pods or more one bedroomed flats for which there is already a market glut”

In 2016 the Lib Dems were the only Party to produce a manifesto. Some of those pledges are repeated here. With the Greens and Tories out of the running it is the Lib Dems against Joe Anderson’s team. Every vote will get and every seat we gain will give us more opportunities to press for imaginative and progressive proposals such as those in our manifesto”

The full Lib Dem Manifesto is available at http://www.liverlibdems.org.uk

 

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

Lib Dems call for Special Council Meeting to consider Mayor Anderson’s “We’ll pay for all of new EFC Stadium proposal”

Bramley Moore

Liverpool Council must never be the only investor in a  new stadium for Everton Football Club at Bramley Moore Dock

Some people have suggested that I have been spending too much time and looking too hard at Liverpool Council’s proposals to invest in the new EFC stadium at Bramley Moore Dock. It is true that I have been spending a lot of time on this and that is because of its sheer scale. To put it in context £280 million is about 75% of our normal council tax borne annual budget.

That is why I reacted with ‘horror’ to a suggestion from Mayor Anderson that a ‘plan B’ for the new stadium for Everton would be that the Council should provide all the £500,000,000 capital if the private sector will not invest in the project. Given that the existing proposal would mean our borrowing going up to approximately £1.1 billion then the extension of the rest of the capital for EFC would mean the Council’s borrowing rising to more than £1.3 billion. This is wholly unacceptable. It is hugely more than the debts of the collapsed Carillion Company which had far greater revenues.

In a letter to Mayor Anderson I sent today I said, “If the private sector is not prepared to put money in to this project it would only be for one reason, that they did not consider the project to be viable. In that case it would be lunacy for the Council to take on the whole of this debt.

I agree that EFC and the Council need a plan B and strongly urge you to look at proposals that came forward recently for the redevelopment of the current ground as Liverpool F.C. have done.

I would suggest that we need to have an urgent and through debate on this issue and that either you should call a special full council meeting or that we take the unusual step of adding a ‘political’ item to the Annual Meeting of the Council which normally deals with administrative and civic matters”.

My letter to Mayor Anderson is appended in full below:

Mayor Anderson OBE,

By E-mail

7th April 2018

Dear Joe,

Re:         Everton F.C. and the new Stadium Proposals

I read with horror last night a suggestion from you in the Liverpool Echo that Liverpool might, as an option B, fund the whole of the new Stadium for Everton at Bramley Moore Dock. This would, of course, be if the Club were unable to attract the £220 million that they need to find in addition to the £280 million that we would need to find.

This is wholly unacceptable to the Liberal Democrats, the people of Liverpool and, I suspect the vast majority of members of your own Party. If the private sector is not prepared to put money in to this project it would only be for one reason, that they did not consider the project to be viable. In that case it would be lunacy for the Council to take on the whole of this debt.

Given that the major assets of a football club in addition to its brand reputation and stadium are its players you would need to take over the club itself to ensure that there was sufficient security for the loan. There is no way that Liverpool Council has the expertise to run a football club even though you personally have strong ideas about how the transfer market operates!

All this is, of course, before the other substantial costs of the stadium – the external infrastructure for transport etc are public quantified.

I agree that EFC and the Council need a plan B and strongly urge you to look at proposals that came forward recently for the redevelopment of the current ground as Liverpool F.C. have done.

We are prepared, in the best interest of the city, to look at the existing suggestions for the new stadium and I will contact you separately about that. We want to see a new or renovated stadium because we believe that a strong EFC is good for our City. But this has to be within reasonable and not unreasonable financial provisions.

I would suggest that we need to have an urgent and through debate on this issue and that either you should call a special full council meeting or that we take the unusual step of adding a ‘political’ item to the Annual Meeting of the Council which normally deals with administrative and civic matters.

Yours sincerely,

 

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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

Lib Dems fight every seat in Liverpool

candidates2

Me with some of our key ward candidates, Steve Brauner (Allerton/Hunts Cross), Carole Storey (Childwall), Kris Brown (Woolton), Alisha Lewis (Mossley Hill), Liz Makinson (Church) and Norman Mills (Cressington)

With nominations about to close tomorrow the Lib Dems have already submitted nomination papers for all 31 seats available in Liverpool. For the first time in more than a decade Liverpool Lib Dems will have a candidate for every seat including the second seat in Knotty Ash caused by the last-minute resignation of a Labour Councillor.

Cllr Richard Kemp, the Lib Dem Leader in Liverpool says, “In this team we have quality as well as quantity and the number of new candidates, more than half, is a direct response to the more than doubling of membership in Liverpool since 2015. We now have more members than we did when we controlled the Council and have people ready for next year in the seats we expect to win this year.

At the last elections in 2016 we doubled our number of seats from 2 to 4 and expect to more than double them again on May 3. Of course, that will not mean we control the Council but every vote cast and every seat gained will enable us to improve our ability to hold Mayor Anderson’s Labour Party to account on behalf of the people of Liverpool”.

Some details of our team for May 3rd

  • Half of all candidates are under the age of 35, with Alisha Lewis, 20, the youngest of all candidates standing at the local elections in Liverpool.
  • Half of our target seat candidates are women.
  • There are 3 Doctors – Dr Richard Benthall, Dr. Chris Collins and Dr Fiona McBride.
  • Graham Hughes – Knotty Ash – is a Guinness World record holder for travelling round the world without a plane and founded global scouse day.  He joins us from Labour. As has Dr. Richard Bentall.
  • Alex Cotrell, in Picton Ward is a local musician who plays in 3 bands.
  • More than half of candidates are first time candidates.
  • 5 candidates are former councillors
  • Wiebke Rutejans is a German National and Joe Slupsky is a Canadian National
  • A number of candidates are from an LGBT community.

The full list of candidates is:

Allerton and Hunts Cross Steve Brauner
Anfield Wiebke Ruterjans
Belle Vale Steve Atkinson
Central Greg Howard
Childwall Carole Storey
Church Liz Makinson
Clubmoor Paul Childs
County Rob McAllister-Bell
Cressington Norman Mills
Croxteth Richard Bentall
Everton Nick Sawyer
Fazakerley Joe Slupsky
Greenbank Fiona McBride
Kensington and Fairfield Bill Barrow
Kirkdale Mike McAllister-Bell
Knotty Ash (x2) Graham Hughes, Gerard Thompson
Mossley Hill Alisha Lewis
Norris Green Sam Buist
Old Swan Chris Colllins
Picton Alex Cottrell
Princes Park Tom Sebire
Riverside Anna McCracken
Speke-Garston Alan Tormey
St Michael’s Norman Darbyshire
Tuebrook and Stoneycroft Pat Moloney
Warbreck Jerry Lonsdale
Wavertree Graham Hulme
West Derby Paul Parr
Woolton Kris Brown
Yew Tree Jackie Wilson
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Liverpool’s planning committee must be bolder

Planning

Some good schemes did go through the planning committee today here are just three of them

One of the most frustrating things that I do as a Councillor is to serve on Liverpool’s planning committee. Too often it is constrained by planning regulations and laws which are designed to ensure that development goes through. But, too often and that includes today the Committee is constrained by its own lack of vision and timidity. But let me start with the good news!

A number of the applications which were passed today were excellent and will, in my view, stand the test of time. In no particular order these include:

  • The new Police HQ. It is well designed and has great respect for the impact it will make on the wider community. I am the only person on the planning committee who was actually a councillor when the present police HQ was planned. I spoke and voted against it and said then that all it needed was a gallows on top for it to look like the Lubjanka (the HQ of the KGB!)
  • Ralli House a new Signature Living Development in Old Hall Street. I voted against the original planning decision but spoke in favour of the major revision which was presented today. It has less impact in terms of height and less apartments.
  • The new hotel at the current Echo HQ also in Old Hall Street. This will deal with the old Merseyside County Council tower which has been empty for at least 15 years and will provide an excellent new facility close to both the commercial and tourist centres.

But much of the time the committee voted for things which it explicitly ruled out in the new planning framework document which we approved in January:

Houses in Multiple Occupation in two areas (Kensington Fields and the Garmoyle Road area) where in January Council specifically said that there were too many HMOs in those areas. I supported my friend Labour Cllr Robertson-Collins on this.

The reuse of industrial land in Everton which currently has 8 industrial units on it for – you guessed it. – more apartments in an area which already has 1,700 small studios and apartments with permission or on site. This is in spite of the fact that it is zoned for industrial use both in the current UDP and the plan I which was accepted in January. I supported Labour Councillor Jane Corbett on this.

In Central Ward on a site which is near London Road we voted for …. Yes that’s right – more student accommodation. This is despite a new policy having been agreed by Council which limits the saturation of the area with student accommodation. On this issue I supported my even greater friend Labour Cllr Nick Small!!!

In fact, I was the only friend that these Labour councillors had in the committee today as their Labour colleagues toed the officer line and supported all the recommendations.

So why did they do so? Well in legal terms they were probably right. The new Local Development Framework has not yet been though its final council stage. It will have more weight when the Cabinet agrees the responses arising from the consultation which ended on March 9th. I understand that this response might be delayed for a good reason which I support but cannot reveal.  It will only have full effect if and when it goes through the Government’s Inspectorate but that may still be 18 months away.

So, what should we do in the next 12-18 months? Nothing or something? I vote for the latter. The Council almost unanimously with the exception of the increasingly irrelevant Greens voted for the Framework. We believe in it, and I said how much I looked forward as a member of the planning committee to using it. So let’s do just that.

I believe that if we start acting now as if the Policy was finalised we would force change rapidly from many developers and their agents. Perhaps we might lose the occasional appeal but on a wider level we will begin to change the way that developers think. That will in turn change the quality of the applications which we receive. Frankly too much of what we get before us is mundane and tedious. Etch a Sketch plans which could be applied to anywhere and not Liverpool’s unique building heritage.

Greedy, grasping developers have ruined the Baltic Triangle and have sterilised its edgy and artistic feel. Bland boring Benidorm buildings will now adorn and overpower Lime Street. This must stop. If we wait until the process goes through the Government’s machinery we will have given permission for a load of garbage that we cannot unpick.

In a few weeks’ time we will have a new or at least renewed planning committee and the next stage of the Local Plan will be though the Council. I appeal to the Labour Party to lose its timidity and stand up for our built environment before it is too late.

Posted in Liverpool City Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment