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Wirral Tory leader blasts 'slash and burn' approach to cuts in council services
THE leader of Wirral’s Tory opposition group has accused the Labour administration of adopting a “slash and burn” approach to services.
With the authority struggling to reduce spending by £109m over the next three years - £40m being the target for next year alone – some alarming measures are being proposed.
Among them are making at least 500 staff redundant, turning off the street lights, shutting youth centres and ceasing maintenance of the borough’s parks and beaches.
Now Conservative group leader Cllr Jeff Green has placed a “notion of motion” to be considered at next Monday’s meeting of the full council in which he blasts Labour’s “total lack of coherence or a guiding strategy behind these cuts.”
His paper states “Council does not believe the approach adopted by the Labour administration is morally acceptable or consistent with our aspiration for a resilient, active civic society that supports the weakest and poorest in our communities.”
It adds the public would be prepared to accept an evidence based, thought-through and considered blue print for the future.
But it brands the present strategy as representing an “unthinking, ill-considered, hypocritical, slash and burn approach.”
Council leader Cllr Phil Davies hit back telling the Globe: "I really do think Jeff Green has a brass neck when it is his government who are forcing us to make these cuts.
"We are not doing any of this out of choice.
"I'm afraid it sounds like typical crocodile tears from the Tory group."
Councillor Davies has submitted his own notice to the agenda which points out the necessity for the authority to set a legal budget.
It states: “This council faces a huge challenge of maintaining vital services for the people of Wirral against a background of unprecedented cuts by government which will require [us] to cut £103m from budget over the next three years.
“This means that savings will need to be identified. However, cuts of this magnitude will require extremely difficult choices to be made.
“Councils in the North of England with high levels of deprivation have had more severe cuts imposed on them in comparison with relatively affluent councils in the South of England.
"This is neither fair nor equitable.”
Councillor Davies's paper reveals that despite writing to Secretary of State Eric Pickles on November 1 requesting an urgent meeting, he has yet to receive a reply.
He will write again requesting an urgent meeting involving the three group leaders.
Where the services axe is to fall will be decided at a meeting of the council's ruling cabinet on Thursday.