It’s been a week since we passed our budget to council and I can honestly say that the response from the people of Liverpool has been fantastic.
It’s no secret that I firmly believe these cuts are wrong, these cuts are unfair and these cuts are an attack on this City by a mindless, stubborn Prime Minister who refuses to acknowledge us and our problems.
This is a man who told parliament “Liverpool is being properly funded for the services they need” and that he does “not believe that Liverpool is being short changed.”
How ignorant and arrogant can one man be? The thing that frightens me most is that I’m starting to think that he genuinely believes this. He is so one dimensional, stuck in his ivory tower looking down on us from his Westminster bubble that he has no idea about us, about our struggles, about our needs.
The very idea that Mr Cameron deems it fit to compare Liverpool to his own leafy southern constituency of Witney in Oxfordshire is laughable. He might as well compare us to Witney in Texas while he’s at it – it has about as much relevance.
I will give the Prime Minister one thing, he is good with words. He seems to convince a lot of people by throwing meaningless figures about, while not actually ever using facts. So, I’ll do it for him.
Let’s do what David Cameron wants us to do. Let’s compare Liverpool to Witney.
· If Liverpool had the same property base as Cameron’s Witney, we would be bringing in an extra £135m in council tax. £135m. That would essentially mean no cuts.
· Liverpool has ten times the number of Band A houses than Witney – these pay the lowest rates of council tax
· Witney has seventeen times more Band H houses than Liverpool – these pay the highest rates of council tax.
· In Liverpool, only 9% of council tax is available as revenue to the City Council whereas in Oxfordshire, they receive 46% of their council tax as revenue.
We are not in the same book never mind the same page.
There is one thing that Cameron can never compare and that is the people of Liverpool with anywhere else in the world. As I said at the beginning of this piece, the people of Liverpool have been fantastic in the face of a very difficult period for our City. The City is united, the City is strong and the City will continue to move forward and have our voice heard despite Cameron’s refusal to listen.
In the words of the great Tony Benn, “First they ignore you, then they say you’re mad, then dangerous, then there’s a pause and then you can’t find anyone who disagrees with you.”
The people are agreeing with us Mr Cameron. It’s about time you wake up and realise that.