Hundreds lobby Wirral councillors to fight Government cuts

Wirral Globe: Wallasey Town Hall Wallasey Town Hall

HUNDREDS gathered at Wallasey Town Hall to lobby councillors to fight against Government cuts.

Protesters packed out the council chamber's public gallery as they called on the authority to rethink plans to cut jobs and vital services.

Presenting a petition of more than 3,000 signatures was Ross Quinn from Wirral United Against Cuts who warned of the "devastation" that the changes would bring.

The petition is in response to almost £40m worth of cuts which are to be made next year.

Mr Quinn told the meeting: "Please think about the devastation that you will cause if you administer these cuts.

"We need to send them a message – if they attack, we are going to fight back."

Council leader Phil Davies said the cuts were "not right" for Wirral but that the council faced a "huge budget challenge."

However he added that a legal budget needed to be set to avoid commissioners stepping in.

He said: "I am totally committed to doing everything in my power to persuade the Government to change course.

"But I do not believe the way forward is to refuse to set a legal budget because what will happen is that commissioners will be sent in and it will be done for us."

He added: "In terms of the petition, as we all know we are in the middle of a consultation exercise and I don’t believe it would be right or appropriate to make a commitment now."

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Tom Harney and Tory leader Cllr Jeff Green backed his suggestion to note Mr Quinn’s comments and consider them "seriously."

Labour councillors later voted for an "emergency plan" to be put together to help local people cope with welfare benefit cuts.

Claughton councillor George Davies submitted a notice of motion calling on the chief executive to devise a plan which would show how the council will work with other organisations to assist those affected by benefit changes.

He said that forthcoming reforms to incapacity benefit, disability living allowance and the controversial "bedroom tax" would affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

However in a separate Tory notice of motion regarding budget cut proposals, Cllr Green said the ruling Labour administration was "hiding behind the chief executive."

He said he would "take no lectures" from Labour councillors.

Councillor Green said: “The Labour administration lack any sort of coherency or strategy and they are taking this slash and burn approach.

“You do have a choice and to hide behind officers as you constantly seek to do is cowardice.”

Chief executive Graham Burgess said the options set out in the What Really Matters consultation had been designed to “reduce the impact” on Wirral residents.

His comments come as the exercise enters its fifth week with more than 4,000 responses submitted.

Mr Burgess said: “The options we’re proposing have specifically been designed with a view to reducing the impact on residents as much as we can. And – to that end – we have been largely successful.

“However, some very difficult decisions remain. Council services have to change and, as well as reducing senior management and staffing costs, we have to look at the ways to either reduce or reorganise many of the services we provide.

“I cannot stress enough how important this consultation is. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that this is likely to be the most radical change Wirral Council has ever been through and it is vital that people make sure their voice is heard by getting involved in the consultation.”

The consultation closes on January 31 2013 and people can still have their say by calling into any one of Wirral Council’s One Stop Shops or visiting: www.wirral.gov.uk/whatreallymatters.
 

The matter will be decided on Thursday at a crucial meeting of the ruling cabinet.
 

Comments (8)

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10:50am Tue 18 Dec 12

bigfoot says...

Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest!
Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest! bigfoot

10:50am Tue 18 Dec 12

bigfoot says...

Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest!
Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest! bigfoot

11:08am Tue 18 Dec 12

WirralAl says...

bigfoot wrote:
Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest!
Totally agree. "The duly" elected are next to useless and totally inept. Out of ideas and could not run a bath.

They have wasted Millions of "OUR" council tax on failures and pay outs to staff who failed to perform the jobs they were paid to perform.

They have squandered money on The Wirral Lines Building, The complete failure of DASS and the Colas "Bung" scandal.



Time to draw a line in the sand. Bring in the commissioners put right the wrongs and start again.

The duly elected (by 30% of the people who bothered to vote) have consistently let us down.
[quote][p][bold]bigfoot[/bold] wrote: Bring the commissioners in,they will do a better job than the idiots we currently have,councillors and officers,and they will probably be more honest![/p][/quote]Totally agree. "The duly" elected are next to useless and totally inept. Out of ideas and could not run a bath. They have wasted Millions of "OUR" council tax on failures and pay outs to staff who failed to perform the jobs they were paid to perform. They have squandered money on The Wirral Lines Building, The complete failure of DASS and the Colas "Bung" scandal. Time to draw a line in the sand. Bring in the commissioners put right the wrongs and start again. The duly elected (by 30% of the people who bothered to vote) have consistently let us down. WirralAl

11:34am Tue 18 Dec 12

craigot89 says...

Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive.
Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive. craigot89

11:59am Tue 18 Dec 12

MDRyUK says...

As somebody who was sat in the public gallery at Monday night's meeting of Wirral Council I am growing increasingly concerned about the way business of the council is being run and managed by politicians and officials. People of the Wirral need to be concerned, very concerned, not least because dramatic cuts will be administered to achieve a legal budget for next fiscal year commencing 1st April 2013.

Sadly it's obvious the complexity running council affairs seems to disguise lack of democratic control and this is further weakened through cabinet governance rather than full scrutiny by the whole council.

Much rhetoric was used by some local politicians at the council meeting making difficult to understand whether audited controls are being administered or working properly to ensure effective management of council resources such as they may be. This is crucial at a time when so many council jobs are on the line. Freedom of information is important but does it really exist as far as the Wirral Council are concerned?

The council has statutory duties to perform as well as ensuring services represent good value for money. Many vulnerable people throughout Wirral depend on the Council to manage services with due diligence, care and attention.

Disappointingly at various times the council meeting could be compared to that of a pantomime act and quite frankly my confidence in them is much dissipated.

We will all pay the price for the failure of this Council I'm afraid. Up to now the Council led 'What Really Matters?' consultation scheme is not really a consultation scheme at all, it is in fact a bit of a sham. Of course things may change provided the Wirral Borough's public wake up and engage with councillors on a one-to-one basis. The council inspired questionnaire will be a very little value in itself except to carry favour with certain local politicians who will simply turn around at the end of the day and say "don't blame us gov"! You wait and see!
As somebody who was sat in the public gallery at Monday night's meeting of Wirral Council I am growing increasingly concerned about the way business of the council is being run and managed by politicians and officials. People of the Wirral need to be concerned, very concerned, not least because dramatic cuts will be administered to achieve a legal budget for next fiscal year commencing 1st April 2013. Sadly it's obvious the complexity running council affairs seems to disguise lack of democratic control and this is further weakened through cabinet governance rather than full scrutiny by the whole council. Much rhetoric was used by some local politicians at the council meeting making difficult to understand whether audited controls are being administered or working properly to ensure effective management of council resources such as they may be. This is crucial at a time when so many council jobs are on the line. Freedom of information is important but does it really exist as far as the Wirral Council are concerned? The council has statutory duties to perform as well as ensuring services represent good value for money. Many vulnerable people throughout Wirral depend on the Council to manage services with due diligence, care and attention. Disappointingly at various times the council meeting could be compared to that of a pantomime act and quite frankly my confidence in them is much dissipated. We will all pay the price for the failure of this Council I'm afraid. Up to now the Council led 'What Really Matters?' consultation scheme is not really a consultation scheme at all, it is in fact a bit of a sham. Of course things may change provided the Wirral Borough's public wake up and engage with councillors on a one-to-one basis. The council inspired questionnaire will be a very little value in itself except to carry favour with certain local politicians who will simply turn around at the end of the day and say "don't blame us gov"! You wait and see! MDRyUK

4:26pm Tue 18 Dec 12

johnbrace says...

craigot89 wrote:
Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive.
There were two petitions, one was of 7,644 about the future of Birkenhead Dog Kennels, the other was of 3,167 about the current consultation on budget options at Wirral Council.

There isn't a discrepancy between 3,000 and 8,000 as those numbers refer to two totally different petitions. Hope that helps!
[quote][p][bold]craigot89[/bold] wrote: Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive.[/p][/quote]There were two petitions, one was of 7,644 about the future of Birkenhead Dog Kennels, the other was of 3,167 about the current consultation on budget options at Wirral Council. There isn't a discrepancy between 3,000 and 8,000 as those numbers refer to two totally different petitions. Hope that helps! johnbrace

8:35pm Tue 18 Dec 12

grumpywoman2 says...

A shame that the article only featured the petition against the general cuts which had 3167 signatures (thanks johnbrace). The petition against the closure of the Council Kennels did receive 7644 signatures and Phil Simpson delivered such a great speech that even received applause of the complete council. I too sat in the public gallery and I didnt like everything I heard either. FOBCK as a charity has worked so, so hard over the past 3 years, surely they should have deserved at least a mention, especially for getting so many signatures in such little time. If the kennels close, many future strays may have to die needlesly and the Wirral would be home to many packs of strays that could potentially cause accidents, leave dog mess around or even attack children or other people. This service has worked well for many years and has achieved national awards in the past, most recently a silver one by the RSPCA for the way the service deals with strays. Halewood should not be an option, people would not be able to afford to reclaim their lost dogs! This is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
A shame that the article only featured the petition against the general cuts which had 3167 signatures (thanks johnbrace). The petition against the closure of the Council Kennels did receive 7644 signatures and Phil Simpson delivered such a great speech that even received applause of the complete council. I too sat in the public gallery and I didnt like everything I heard either. FOBCK as a charity has worked so, so hard over the past 3 years, surely they should have deserved at least a mention, especially for getting so many signatures in such little time. If the kennels close, many future strays may have to die needlesly and the Wirral would be home to many packs of strays that could potentially cause accidents, leave dog mess around or even attack children or other people. This service has worked well for many years and has achieved national awards in the past, most recently a silver one by the RSPCA for the way the service deals with strays. Halewood should not be an option, people would not be able to afford to reclaim their lost dogs! This is an important issue that needs to be addressed. grumpywoman2

8:38pm Wed 19 Dec 12

craigot89 says...

johnbrace wrote:
craigot89 wrote:
Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive.
There were two petitions, one was of 7,644 about the future of Birkenhead Dog Kennels, the other was of 3,167 about the current consultation on budget options at Wirral Council.

There isn't a discrepancy between 3,000 and 8,000 as those numbers refer to two totally different petitions. Hope that helps!
Have you read the piece on the Echo website? The figure of 3,167 was the number of signatures the petition had when it was handed in over a month ago to council to get it brought up on the Monday. However lead petitioner Ross Quinn handed in over 4 thousand extra signatures on the night bringing the total figure in line with what the echo reported. Why has the Globe left out this information yet the echo can publish the correct figures?
[quote][p][bold]johnbrace[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]craigot89[/bold] wrote: Echo reports under 8000 signatures Wirral globe reports over 3000. Bit of a gap in figures I think. Can't understand why our local paper is pushing a consultation which has the potential to devastate our community. Does the Globe not realise that if these cuts come in and people are out of work local business will suffer which will in turn see a reduction in advertising revenue they receive.[/p][/quote]There were two petitions, one was of 7,644 about the future of Birkenhead Dog Kennels, the other was of 3,167 about the current consultation on budget options at Wirral Council. There isn't a discrepancy between 3,000 and 8,000 as those numbers refer to two totally different petitions. Hope that helps![/p][/quote]Have you read the piece on the Echo website? The figure of 3,167 was the number of signatures the petition had when it was handed in over a month ago to council to get it brought up on the Monday. However lead petitioner Ross Quinn handed in over 4 thousand extra signatures on the night bringing the total figure in line with what the echo reported. Why has the Globe left out this information yet the echo can publish the correct figures? craigot89

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