The Tory government will make a further £120m of cuts in the council’s budget in the next five years. In response the Labour council has approved a plan for the next five years which includes securing £250m of private sector funding to create 5000 jobs and sharing services with neighbouring local authorities to reduce cost.
Phil Davies the council leader has described the plan as “pragmattic, innovative and bold”. Other plans include, improving standards in schools and clamping down on anti social behaviour.
Wirral’s Labour run Council has approved a plan setting out its objectives between now and 2020, including
# creating and safeguarding 5000 new jobs
# increasing the visitor economy by £100m
# creating and safeguarding 5,000 new jobs
# building and improving 7000 homes
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Earlier this week the Council agreed to cuts of £2.5m in its budget.
It’s todays style to denigrate all politicians, but the truth is that the services that they are responsible for matter and have a major impact on their local communities, on families and individuals. The latest cuts, including reducing library opening hours and ending a 5% council tax discount for people over 70 are no different. But the Council has a duty to set a legal budget and the hard, cruel fact, is that in the last four years this government has imposed massive cuts in funding for local authorities and and, as a result, the local services that they provide. In the Wirral the Council has had to make cuts of £150 million in the last four years and next year will need to cut another £18 million.
Cuts on this scale cannot be made by tinkering at the edges. The Council has the difficult responsibility of trying to ensure that the massive cuts that the Tory/Lib Dem austerity policies require are made as fairly as possible. Any cut, whatever it is and wherever it is made is likely to provoke opposition, but if savings aren’t made in one place they must come somewhere else. To borrow a phrase used by the late Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and often quoted by her Tory supporters, there is no alternative. Not for the next four months, until the General Election on May 7th.