Well it all looks good from what I have seen since the Coalition Government gave the green light last Tuesday, as opposed to the amber one we got from the previous Government.
It has certainly gone down well with the locals that I have spoken to although one old wag made an amusing remark, well amusing that is if you are not a Sefton Central Constituency socialist. What he said was that he wondered what the reactions were in the office of the Sefton Central MP when the news came through that the Coalition Government had approved the new road. His point was that Sefton Central Labour had backed the wrong horse and gone around telling anyone who would listen to them that the Coalition had ditched the project. Yes indeed, being the fly on that wall would have been interesting!
But we have learned more about savings in the Government’s Transport portfolio i.e. that they are around 11% in respect of such capital projects but were planned to be at around 40% under Labour. No wonder senior civil servants were sent around England to tell Chief Executives of Councils in February that their transport projects were at significant risk.
Finally, a special word for Thornton Parish Council on this matter. They have helped push this project on in recent years and I think they deserve a big thank you from us all.
Whilst battling with a dose of the flu today and feeling rotten I have been made to feel much better by the news that the long running campaign to build a link road from Switch Island through to Thornton has been successful as Government has approved the project’s funding.
I recall marching with Thornton residents in the late 1990’s to get the project back on track after the previous ‘Blue Route’ had been ditched in the 1980’s. More to be said as the detail emerges but my initial thanks go to Thornton, Maghull and Lydiate Parish Councils for their consistent support for the project.
As the Comprehensive Spending Review hit us all a Sefton resident e-mailed me to ask if I was happy with the huge cuts in public expenditure. Happy, well obviously not as no one seeks public office to then take such unpopular decisions. However, knowing that such things have to done and having the courage to do them is a different and probably more important point.
Despite the savings being massive and their consequences far reaching the alternative them is what? You know they are not too dissimilar to what Labour had in mind to do if they had been re-elected although they now play a game of ‘we would not have cut this or that or the other’ without ever detailing what they would have done.
Of course the alternative was to put the UK on the same track as Greece i.e. one to almost complete financial melt-down. Just look at the facts, for every £300 the Government has been getting in as income it has been spending £400 and this has forced Government to borrow an eye watering £400million every day! In this financial year this will total extra borrowing of £150,000 million. It is staggering yet Labour still seem to be living in their own little world where money still seemingly grows on trees.
So the answer to the question is that the Coalition Government had no real choice because to do nothing or not enough would have created a far, far worse situation. Oh and just in case anyone thinks that I am in some way protected from the savings and cuts can I make it clear that I am employed in the public sector as are members of my family.
In these hard times some god news, Sefton has been awarded Fairtrade Borough status by the Fairtrade Foundation. I have long supported the principles of Fairtrade and have been a part of the steering group that has been promoting them in Sefton. So it’s thanks to the companies, community groups, churches and retailers who have helped us achieve this status. To celebrate I am having a Fairtrade mug of tea as a type this posting.
Today I was out with Children from Green Park Primary School and 6th Form Students of Maghull High School as they litter picked and planted bulbs along the Leeds Liverpool Canal from Green Lane, Maghull to Bells Lane, Lydiate. This was all part of a joint effort from the Schools in the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough to improve our local environment. An enjoyable time was had by all and it was great to be involved. Credit to Maghull, Melling and Lydiate Parish Councils for helping to fund the event and to the Pride of Sefton Charity for bringing along their excellent new canal barge for refreshment purposes. A good community day building on the local adult volunteer canal actions days first brought about by Cllr. Geoff Howe a couple of years ago.
Sadly, later in the day as I drove through Switch Island an accident had only recently happened and an ambulance and recovery truck were on the scene together with some friendly chaps from the Highways Agency who were stopping and directing traffic. I got to talk to one of the Highways Agency staff and what a nice guy. He was obviously used to dealing with accidents every day (fortunately this was not a bad one) but he kept us informed about what was going on, what he wanted us to do etc. Well done the Highways Agency they managed the unfortunate situation very well.
Whilst we all get carried away with the Country’s cash crisis there is a big danger that our greatest challenge becomes an issue that gets pushed onto the back burner. I refer, of course, to global warming. If we agonise over money for too long and fail to effectively make those even tougher decisions that are required, if we are to hand over the earth to future generations in anything like a livable condition, then we will have failed those future generations.