Plans to cut leisure services for Wirral's Armed Forces slammed by opposition

Wirral Globe: Plans to cut leisure services for Wirral's Armed Forces slammed by opposition Plans to cut leisure services for Wirral's Armed Forces slammed by opposition

PLANS to cut back on a scheme that allows past and serving members of the Armed Forces free access to council-run leisure facilities have been slammed as a “cynical attempt at penny pinching on the backs of the brave”.

A report to Wirral’s ruling cabinet on Monday outlines how the authority plans to save in excess of £2m by transforming its leisure services.

It states that current prices for activities at council’s leisure facilities are “very competitive when compared to other local authorities in the area” and the “challenge is how to maximise income” without making the facilities unaffordable.

One of the proposals being put forward is to alter the discount given to current and former members of the Armed Forces.

At present, all current serving and former armed service personnel receive free use of facilities at all leisure facilities, at all times, with 2,400 individuals registered for what the council deems a “generous concession”.

The proposal is to target the free use benefit to current serving members of the Armed Forces – including the Territorial Army and Reservists – who are from Wirral and former service personnel who have suffered a disabling injury when in the services and are in receipt of a disability benefit.

But Wallasey Tory Cllr Paul Hayes has slammed the move.

He said: “This move is outrageous, coming just days after the people of Wirral celebrated the contribution of our Armed Forces during Armed Forces Day.

“The courageous men, women and veterans of our Armed Forces are deserving of our continued gratitude and support.

“This cynical attempt at penny pinching on the backs of the brave is a disgrace.”

Cllr Hayes added: “The cabinet report calls this scheme a ‘generous concession’ – I say it is the least we can do for those to who are prepared, or have been prepared, to make the ultimate sacrifice for us all. I call upon cabinet to immediately reject this plan.”

A new programme will also be made available for serving members and injured or disabled former service personnel which will include one-to-one gym instruction.

The report sets out that those who currently have the benefit of free use but would not qualify under the new policy will be given access to a discount of up to 25% on the corporate Invigor8 membership.

Cllr Chris Meaden, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: “We want to continue to invest in quality facilities – like we are doing at the moment with the £2m scheme to improve our leisure centres and make them more attractive to customers – but we also want to make sure our facilities remain accessible and affordable for the most vulnerable members of our community.”

She said the new pricing structure is aimed at making it fairer and less complicated, adding: “If the report is backed by cabinet, serving armed forces personnel from Wirral will still be able to access our leisure facilities free of charge, as will any former serving officers living locally who have suffered a disabling injury or receive disability benefits.

“Indeed, the plan is to improve our offer in this area by offering them one-to-one gym instruction and, working with other departments, a wider package of support.”

Comments (10)

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3:21pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Wow, this is a game changer isn't it? It appears nothing is sacred to this regime. Let the politicking begin!

My suggestion to Cabinet would be to take a closer look at your senior management team and work your way down. There is most certainly further opportunities for re-structuring and combining portfolios.

I am sure the ahead of a Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum.
Wow, this is a game changer isn't it? It appears nothing is sacred to this regime. Let the politicking begin! My suggestion to Cabinet would be to take a closer look at your senior management team and work your way down. There is most certainly further opportunities for re-structuring and combining portfolios. I am sure the ahead of a Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 11

3:23pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Joeblogg85 says...

Joeblogg85 wrote:
Wow, this is a game changer isn't it? It appears nothing is sacred to this regime. Let the politicking begin!

My suggestion to Cabinet would be to take a closer look at your senior management team and work your way down. There is most certainly further opportunities for re-structuring and combining portfolios.

I am sure the ahead of a Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum.
Correction....I'm sure the Head of Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum.
[quote][p][bold]Joeblogg85[/bold] wrote: Wow, this is a game changer isn't it? It appears nothing is sacred to this regime. Let the politicking begin! My suggestion to Cabinet would be to take a closer look at your senior management team and work your way down. There is most certainly further opportunities for re-structuring and combining portfolios. I am sure the ahead of a Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum.[/p][/quote]Correction....I'm sure the Head of Public Health is more than capable of picking up the Community Engagement remit. There's over £100k saved per annum. Joeblogg85
  • Score: 11

3:30pm Thu 3 Jul 14

bigfoot says...

What a shower of lily livered chickens! The offer was just for political gain and no more. They would probably s*** them selves if they met with half the problems our armed forces have had to face.
I AM DISGUSTED WITH YOU ALL every man Jack of you!
What a shower of lily livered chickens! The offer was just for political gain and no more. They would probably s*** them selves if they met with half the problems our armed forces have had to face. I AM DISGUSTED WITH YOU ALL every man Jack of you! bigfoot
  • Score: 16

3:31pm Thu 3 Jul 14

ballacrain says...

Does the two million include the cost of demolishing Europa pools and building a new facility further away from it's current site. Will it also include the money given by government for the disabled facility that was recently built to be rebuilt.
Does the two million include the cost of demolishing Europa pools and building a new facility further away from it's current site. Will it also include the money given by government for the disabled facility that was recently built to be rebuilt. ballacrain
  • Score: 10

5:09pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Thepleb says...

Cllr Meaden how can anybody believe a word that comes out of her mouth , the £2 million invested is to smarten the centres to be flogged off to private companies, we have a Labour council that is enforcing conservative policies in privatizing services meaning job losses, lower pay and loss of pensions.
Europa have already released many long serving experienced staff through evr and transfers, the writing is on the wall for the once flagship centre.
As for the discounts they were given as part of a political campaign and as much appreciated by armed forces personnel I know it was also seen as a token vote winning gesture and quite patronizing , no wars on at the moment so let's give them only a small discount but if something kicks off its all free again, what a pathetic bunch of morons
Cllr Meaden how can anybody believe a word that comes out of her mouth , the £2 million invested is to smarten the centres to be flogged off to private companies, we have a Labour council that is enforcing conservative policies in privatizing services meaning job losses, lower pay and loss of pensions. Europa have already released many long serving experienced staff through evr and transfers, the writing is on the wall for the once flagship centre. As for the discounts they were given as part of a political campaign and as much appreciated by armed forces personnel I know it was also seen as a token vote winning gesture and quite patronizing , no wars on at the moment so let's give them only a small discount but if something kicks off its all free again, what a pathetic bunch of morons Thepleb
  • Score: 11

8:01pm Thu 3 Jul 14

johno8660 says...

Initial this offer was only for serving personnel! ! I lobbied the council to change it to all serving and Ta and veterans and now wirral council want to change it Again! And further discriminate against veterans is this really going to save them money?? I think not! Is the council prepared to disclose how many people out of the 2400 who have taken this offer use the facilities on a regular basis?
Normally a veteran is anyone who has served 1 day in uniform and they can get help from any ex forces charity etc NORMALLY!
just not in the wirral!!!
A very disgusted veteran
Initial this offer was only for serving personnel! ! I lobbied the council to change it to all serving and Ta and veterans and now wirral council want to change it Again! And further discriminate against veterans is this really going to save them money?? I think not! Is the council prepared to disclose how many people out of the 2400 who have taken this offer use the facilities on a regular basis? Normally a veteran is anyone who has served 1 day in uniform and they can get help from any ex forces charity etc NORMALLY! just not in the wirral!!! A very disgusted veteran johno8660
  • Score: 7

9:37pm Thu 3 Jul 14

PaulCa says...

Meanwhile, all 66 councillors have been offered a free exclusive pass to EVERY DAY of the Open Golf at Hoylake. Also laid on is free transport.

Well done to Green councillor Pat Cleary for printing a copy of the Graham Burgess "offer you can't refuse" letter on his blog.

Maybe the savings made by dropping the forces veterans' leisure concession are being redirected into the grateful, grasping hands of the 65 councillors who agreed that Graham Burgess didn't have to serve his full 2 year trial and could be recommended for a permanent role by the under threat head of HR, Chris Hyams.

The councillors' rubber stamping of that clever wheeze has now been rewarded with a quality, top-notch k i c k b a c k.

Strange how these things 'work' isn't it?
Meanwhile, all 66 councillors have been offered a free exclusive pass to EVERY DAY of the Open Golf at Hoylake. Also laid on is free transport. Well done to Green councillor Pat Cleary for printing a copy of the Graham Burgess "offer you can't refuse" letter on his blog. Maybe the savings made by dropping the forces veterans' leisure concession are being redirected into the grateful, grasping hands of the 65 councillors who agreed that Graham Burgess didn't have to serve his full 2 year trial and could be recommended for a permanent role by the under threat head of HR, Chris Hyams. The councillors' rubber stamping of that clever wheeze has now been rewarded with a quality, top-notch k i c k b a c k. Strange how these things 'work' isn't it? PaulCa
  • Score: 13

1:54pm Fri 4 Jul 14

kevin casey says...

Same old war cry we must save money ? no hands being held up by councillors. Who put us in this position by wasting millions of public money in the first place 66. Intrepid. Users !!!!lllll!
Same old war cry we must save money ? no hands being held up by councillors. Who put us in this position by wasting millions of public money in the first place 66. Intrepid. Users !!!!lllll! kevin casey
  • Score: 4

11:55am Sun 6 Jul 14

wirral2000 says...

Tell one of those councillors to serve in Afghanistan or other warzone and make a real contribution to serve queen and country . This threat to take the passes away is the lowest of the low penny pinching scheme I have come across. We should follow the USA in having respect for our armed forces personnel, serving or vets . In The USA for mentioning you were going to remove this free benefit you would be removed from office immediately . The councillors that vote for this are a total disgrace and hold no morals whatsoever .
Tell one of those councillors to serve in Afghanistan or other warzone and make a real contribution to serve queen and country . This threat to take the passes away is the lowest of the low penny pinching scheme I have come across. We should follow the USA in having respect for our armed forces personnel, serving or vets . In The USA for mentioning you were going to remove this free benefit you would be removed from office immediately . The councillors that vote for this are a total disgrace and hold no morals whatsoever . wirral2000
  • Score: 4

11:55pm Sun 6 Jul 14

PaulCa says...

I've written to Lord West of Spithead (Senior Labour party member and former captain of HMS Ardent during the Falklands War) to see if he can have a word or bang a few heads together.
I've written to Lord West of Spithead (Senior Labour party member and former captain of HMS Ardent during the Falklands War) to see if he can have a word or bang a few heads together. PaulCa
  • Score: 0
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