Labour takes control of Liverpool from Labour!!

Liverpool Councillors will continue to meet here but will exercise little control over what happens in our City for the coming year.

Liverpool’s Labour Councillors have effectively been stripped of control of the Council after the Government has appointed a new Strategic Futures Advisory Panel to work alongside the Commissioners to run our City and plan for its future.

The new partnership will see the elected mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, the former Labour Leader of Leeds, Baroness Blake and Sir Howard Bernstein who worked for years as the Chief Executive to Sir Richard Lees in Manchester effectively set the future direction of the City whilst the Commissioners will effectively run the City.

Effectively this means that national Labour have been appointed to take over the vital discussions on the future of the City whilst Liverpool Labour have effectively been frozen out of any major decisions on running the City by the appointment of a 5th Commissioner for Finance.

This was inevitable given the depths to which our City have been dragged by Joe Anderson’s Labour Party and the obvious inability of Joanne Anderson’s Labour Party to put things right.

We now have report after report after report saying what should be done within the City and within the Council but nowhere near enough effective action to implement those plans and the political and managerial expertise needed to put the City right is clearly in short supply.

The Council has until 2nd September to respond to the proposals which should be done on an all-Party basis. I have already emailed the Mayor and other Group Leaders to suggest we need to have a urgent meeting of Group Leaders to try and unite behind a common response to the Government’s opinion. What we need to avoid is the sort of cat fight between various branches of the Labour Party and those that left them that occurred in the Mayoral Select Committee last Tuesday.

For my part I will recommend that the Liberal Democrats accept the situation and work positively with both the Commissioners and Strategic Futures Group to try and map out a way forward in the short and medium term. As democrats we regret that these steps are necessary. As pragmatic politicians who love our City, we recognise that in the short term these steps are inevitable.

Our support for what is happening should take two directions.

Firstly, we have continually said that Liverpool needs to map out a long-term future which is totally absent from our thinking. We have a so-called City Plan which was dreamed up by 16 Chief Executives without support from the businesses, organisations and most importantly the people of the City. Crucially it didn’t have support at any depth from the other organisations not under the control of the Council.

Liverpool must look to the future and not continually whinge about the past. We need to think through what the strengths and weaknesses of our City are. What is happening in the wider society; what technological changes will happen, especially in the field of IT; what effects climate change will make to our City and so many other factors. These need bringing together into a long-term vision for the City behind which we can unite all sectors to build the economic and social foundations that the City needs. That is why is it is right that Steve Rotheram should be involved in this. What Liverpool City does affects the whole of the City Region far more than the actions of other LCR Councils.

Secondly, we need strategic thinking to cut through the maze of plans and strategies which seem to be preventing things happening not helping them. The Council needs to set out its clear objectives for internal change. It needs to prioritise dealing with areas of waste ad looking at improving sources of revenue. It needs to rethink its provision of education and adults ad children’s social services which are in a dire state.

We need to reform our governance systems to ensure that councillors are effectively trained to lead the authority and that we have the information that will enable us to make key decisions in a way that we have to been able to for the part 10 years.

Ultimately, it must be the people of Liverpool who decide who leads the City and not a remote Tory Government. The Liberal Democrats will shortly start to announce our candidates for next year’s elections. This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to sweep out of office the people who have brought our City to such a low level where it is so clearly, “the worst council in England”.

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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1 Response to Labour takes control of Liverpool from Labour!!

  1. Bob says:

    Why Rotherham, he was MP for Walton when Anderson was in lower, what did he know about what was going on?

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