Tomorrow you are going to hear about another attack on Local Government by right-wing ideologues in London who want to distort the facts so that they can grab headlines and feed more lies to Eric Pickles about councils, the services they provide and Liverpool.
The Tax Payers Alliance is about to release information about the level of Local Authority liabilities, claiming it is at a ridiculously unhealthy level and that in some way it represents a poor deal for the general public.
If any of their desk-bound researchers actually had any real-life experience in local government they would understand how misleading and false their report is – unfortunately that won’t stop irresponsible government ministers repeating their lines.
The figures the TPA are using for Liverpool, for example, include the staff pension scheme which we have to provide by law and the rules for which are set by the Government.
There are also very strict rules in place around council borrowing and we can only do it to invest in long-term infrastructure projects that benefit local residents, or generate a return. For example, the new Exhibition Centre will be a great boost for the local economy and will be cost neutral as the borrowing will be paid for through rental income. We are also borrowing money to make a significant dent in the backlog of road repairs, which is an issue that is hugely important to our residents.
The fact is that the Government has cut our budget by 58 percent, so we have to be more entrepreneurial and find new ways of raising money and bringing in additional income to keep the city’s regeneration going.
We are making all of these investments to ensure Liverpool’s economy is strong for the future and meets our commitments to staff past and present through their pensions.
Don’t let numbers that would fail basic GCSE Accounting fool you into thinking that in Liverpool we aren’t taking very seriously the future finances of the city and the tough choices we have to make. We are.