We are about to face one of the toughest weeks in the history of Liverpool City Council – a week that no one has been looking forward to.
Tomorrow will see me pass a budget which will include the most devastating cuts Liverpool has ever had to face. It is an extremely difficult and sensitive time for the people of this city yet it is a time that Tories see appropriate to stand in parliament and spout lies and accusations while Lib Dems post fabricated stories in useless leaflets.
This is not a time for games or toy town politics by petty councillors and parties. The fact is Liverpool is facing its most difficult period in its long history. £156m of cuts, on top of the £176m cuts that we’ve already suffered means that in total this city is seeing a 58% reduction in government grants.
Yet we are the ones who are left to deal with it. We are the ones who have to cut our services, cut our jobs. We are the ones whose lives will be devastatingly affected by the decisions of rich Tory ministers and their Lib Dem lapdogs while they laugh and joke, smear us with lies and refuse to actually listen to us.
I did not become Mayor of this great city to have to implement such devastating cuts and believe me when I say, I get absolutely no pleasure from this process at all. I did however become Mayor to lead this city and act on behalf of its people. I became Mayor to make the hard decisions, the right decisions at the right time and to take this city forward – and that is what I am going to do.
It is clear that we are in this on our own. Despite my best efforts, the government simply won’t listen. There is not going to be a white charger over the hill to come and save us. We have been dealt our cards and it is up to us to arrange them in whatever way we can. It is up to me as Mayor and all of the city’s councillors, regardless of political affiliation, to work together in order to get us through what is going to be a very challenging time.
But let me be absolutely clear – those challenges will be overcome. If we grasp opportunities to work with each other, break down old ways of thinking, becoming more entrepreneurial then we will put ourselves in the driving seat and become the creators of our own destiny.
There is one thing that this Government cannot ignore and that is the fact that Liverpool today is a thriving city. Liverpool is a city that is a confident and exciting place to be, a place that is buzzing about its future.
We are a city that is building. We are a city that is investing. We are a city that is putting its bad days behind and moving forward in a way that only we can do. Liverpool is well and truly a city on the up and we are standing up for ourselves, despite what the government has to throw at us.
I am incredibly proud to be Mayor of Liverpool and I will continue to do everything I can for the city and its people.
There is no doubt in my mind that the best days lay ahead for Liverpool. Despite their best interests, this Lib Dem/Tory government will not knock us down. Liverpool will continue to grow and continue to be the envy of the world.
No other city has what we have. Together we stand side by side and together we will move forward to regain our place as the best city in the world.