On the back of the recent announcement regarding libraries, I feel it is only right that I clarify the situation and put to bed any invalid and wrong arguments.
As most of you all know by now, we have had £176million cuts over the last three years, and we face another £156million over the next three years.
We have produced a report that has looked at how we shape our library service for the future, accepting the fact that we have to make savings across all services, including Adult Social Care, Mental Health, Children’s Services and many others.
The library service cannot be excluded otherwise more cuts will fall on other important services, which is why we have to make this £2.5million saving.
The proposals are the fairest way of dealing with a financial situation outside of our control. Not only have we had to find these savings because of the cuts, we also have to find money to pay for PFI schemes, like the £50 million borrowed to refurbish Central Library.
There are more service cuts and reductions to come, but we will do as much as we can to save services and to protect the people who rely on us
That is why I am so frustrated at so-called politicians in this city playing toy-town politics with our future. The stupidity of the Green Party is breath taking, however, the more they comment on important issues in our City the more they are exposed as the opportunists that they are, with little or no knowledge of real life and the financial difficulties that we face. The fact that they are suggesting that we should keep all Libraries open by using the Mayoral Discretionary Fund shows you just how little they know.
The Discretionary Fund is used to support groups, individuals or organisations vital to our communities. The amount in the fund is about £750,000, same as last year, which was spent on youth clubs, foodbanks, homeless support, charity fundraising, community outreach and fun days, sports and training provision for young people, and alleviation of poverty in this city. The Fund helps give a voice to those who otherwise would have none, helps feed people who would otherwise go hungry, and gives people a chance to have the lives they deserve.
What the Greens fail to comprehend is that we need to cut the budget to our Library service by £2.5 million, a financial fact clearly beyond their understanding.
This is the same Green Party that has suggested we use the same fund to re-instate the Bus Lanes, stop any cuts to Voluntary Sector, stop cuts to Adult Social Care, stop cuts to Children’s Services, use it to employ extra staff to clean our streets, use it to repair our roads, use it to stop us selling off a piece of land next to Sefton Park and any other thing you could imagine.
It is no secret that Liverpool is currently facing the most difficult financial time that we have ever had in our history. We are having to make extremely difficult and heart breaking decisions but they are decisions that have to be made.
One thing I can guarantee is that every decision we make is in the best interest of the city and will be made in the fairest way possible to manage our very difficult financial situation. We will always protect as our people as much as we can, with no gimmicks – just the truth.
Mayor of Liverpool