Liberal Democrats budget amendment for a new post-Covid era

Liverpool Councillors last night pondered our gross budget of about £1 billion. We pointed out how much taxpayer’s money has been wasted in the past and gave pointers as to how we would spend taxpayer’s money instead

This is our press statement about the amendment that we moved at yesterday’s budget Council meeting in Liverpool. It will be no surprise to you that Labour voted it down. We will continue to press for a proper overview of how your money is spent to avoid the gross waste of your cash we have seen during the past 10 years.

Liberal Democrats moved an amendment at yesterday’s Liverpool Council meeting which would reduced the running costs of the Council and set out the directions which we believe that the Council should take. Before doing so Cllr Kemp raised the huge waste of money within the Council which has diverted money away from essential services.

Cllr Kemp itemised things like:

  • £2.75 million spent on refurbishing St John’s Market and the £3.5 million that it has failed to collect in rent and service charges since 2017
  • £1 million on purchasing 2% of a car making company which has paid no interest or dividend in the 8 years since the investment as made.
  • Central Station shopping area currently failing to make a return
  • £1 million spent on producing just 18 homes through Foundations
  • £6 million spent on purchasing the International Garden Festival site where the land had a negative value of £27 million
  • £800,000 spent on evaluating the possibility of the Council providing a stadium for Everton Football Club which it could never actually have done and which Mayor Anderson said would be returned.
  • Stanley Dock where almost £3 million of capital and £0.5 million of interest is outstanding.
  • Significant reductions in rent and a rent fee period for Brushwood and Millvana Houses.
  • Hanging over all these and dwarfing them is the need for the Council to find between £250 million and £500 million to deal with the aftermath of the failed investments within the City.

Cllr Kemp will asked for a major review of the scrutiny process by which Councillors oversee income and expenditure not only of the Council itself but also of the Council controlled companies which appear to be making a loss which taxpayers are having to pick up.

The amendment whilst saving £360,000 of overheads leading to a marginal reduction in the Council Tax rate proposed will concentrate on four areas of growth:

  1. It will provide £10,000 for each ward in the City for Councillors and their communities to propose green initiatives which will improve the local environment on things like tree planning, moss walls and local food production initiatives.
  • Following on our motion to the January City Council we propose £40,000 for each of 5 areas, County Road, Eaton Road, Wavertree High Street, Allerton Road and Woolton Village to repurpose them for a post-Covid area through a neighbourhood planning process with the Council, businesses and communities all playing a part in forward planning.
  • It allocates a net budget of £75,000 for a safety task force of parking attendants to improve road safety and reduce dangerous street parking
  • It will recognise the damage done to education because of the pandemic by proposing a city-wide investment of £250,000 in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to stimulate children’s interests in books and learning.

These initiatives in themselves are small ones but each has been chosen to reflect how, if we come to control the Council in May, we will move the main budgets of the Council forward. Cut waste, watch every penny that we’ve got and use it effectively; invest in children, road safety, green issues and our local district centres.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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2 Responses to Liberal Democrats budget amendment for a new post-Covid era

  1. Henry Penshaw says:

    It’s a shocking list Richard.

    Even more so when you factor in just how much private sector business the city has lost out on from failing to keep pace.

    That’s a direct impact on business rates income, half of which we could have retained.

    Across the city, it’s even worse as the cost is counted in unemployment, low wages for others and poor work life balance, and even ill health and premature death.

    Labour claimed to want to help those less well off. I can only assume they were referring to themselves.

  2. Henry Penshaw says:

    I wish I could say I’m astonished. Turns out one of the attempted occupants of the spare mayor seat is a TWO time bankrupt, most recently in 2019!

    And of course the Echo has been quick to provide her with an uncritical forum for her to try and vague away this matter.

    While I have a lot of sympathy for those who fall on hard times, being made bankrupt raises all sorts of questions.

    Given the position the city is in, where the next leadership must build trust across the UK and world, anyone who has any kind of questions like this over them destroys any chance of this instantly. In my view, it is so obviously an issue for the city that I consider it reprehensible she should even try.

    As for the Labour party, trying to palm these individuals off on us, either they are completely tone deaf as to the damage their shortcomings have inflicted on us, or they don’t care.

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