I have today reacted with sadness and anger over a report which has placed Liverpool in the next to bottom category (out of 6) in a report prepared by Transparency International.
It is extremely sad that Liverpool is once again hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons in regard to its development activities.
This is a professional report from an organisation that is respected globally for its ability to root out incompetence and worse in governments at all levels.
In highlighting the Chinatown Project, they are looking at the tip of the iceberg in developments in Liverpool where, between 2010 and 2018 up to £1 billion may have been lost or misapplied. It has been publicly stated by the Police that their investigations into development in our City go far deeper than this case and there are clear elements of corruption which need to be exposed and rooted out. Both the Police and the Council are conducting far reaching enquiries into the City’s development scene and I am getting increasing confident that these enquiries will soon reach a very public conclusion.
Liberal Democrats hope for three things for the future:
- We hope that the Police and the Council will very swiftly draw their investigations to a conclusion and take action in a variety of ways against those inside and outside the Council who have caused these losses. As the saying goes justice must not only be done but it must be seen to be done.
- We hope that the Council will take this report seriously and not brush it off. My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I will press for the Council to adopt all recommendations in this report which apply to councils. We have prepared a motion to this which we will present to the Councils Standards and Constitutional Committees
- We hope that the Council will produce its own report and recommendations which arose from its Fractional Investment Task Group which started work 2 years ago; finished work one year ago but has yet to report. It is an absolute scandal that the Council has yet to make this report public.
I am optimistic that since our Chief Executive, Tony Reeves, arrived in post in September 2018 many of the development problems in the City have been dealt with. However, the Council must now publicly show that things have changed and that Liverpool is in a stronger place where decent developers will have confidence in coming to our City instead of seeing it as a failed, pariah council.
But the Labour Party must accept their responsibility for what has happened on their watch. Liverpool is at the centre of property scams throughout the United Kingdom and Eire. Labour need to take a serious look at themselves and ask why this happened and review their total failure to oversee the staff of the Council as they brought the wrong investments to our City.