I have been struck for some time about the superficial way cut backs and savings in the public sector are being reported in the national media (printed and TV); it’s as though they report the situations as being ones with obvious (and I assume no pain) alternatives. The context of this is the reporting of savings required within the NHS. We all know that the NHS has been ‘protected’ from cuts but we all also know that it has to make very large efficiency savings especially in areas of management. Sefton Council will be making management savings of 25%+ so surely the NHS can do the same or more, can’t it? But in the national media we see stories one day that say the NHS has bloated management with too high costs and the next day stories along the lines of the NHS can’t make savings!
Of course the ‘alternatives’ are to to let the economy drift in an Irish or Greek direction. The Governments in those counties tried it and the scale of savings they are now having to make are so huge that it makes ours look rather small in comparison.
Another odd position is the public v private wages one. We hear that Heinz staff are to go on strike as they have only been offered a 3% pay rise when in the public sector Councils are looking at reducing pay! What a turn around from not so long ago when public sector wages were always said to be on the rise with the private sector holding wage rises down.
What was normal is now not normal yet the national media are still reporting as though the past realities are still present realities. It’s a bit like the Coalition and the disagreements within it. The reality is that two parties are cooperating who have very different views of the world.
I have reported two dangerous ice problems to the Council today :-
*Junction of Liverpool Road North & Dodds Lane in Maghull
*Junction of Aintree Lane and The A59 Ormskirk Road at the Old Roan (filter lane off northbound carriageway)
Both sites have had accidents happening today so I am hoping that something can be done. I have also received a useful piece of work from the Chairman of Thornton Parish Council about the ice and snow problems and the Council’s response together with concerns from a Formby resident.
The Robertson’s spent some of Christmas day with family in Bamber Bridge (Preston) and a good time we had as I hope readers of this post did as well. This was in fact the first time I had left the Borough since the heavy snowfall seven days previously.
One thing I noticed was how much warmer it was just that short distance north of Sefton. We could see the temperature gauge rising as we drove there so checked it in detail on the way back. On leaving Bamber Bridge the temperature was Nil, on crossing back into Sefton the temperature was -7 and all in the space of around half an hour travelling. It was also clear that they had less snow than some parts of our Borough.
Like everyone else I am getting obsessed with the snow and ice but that’s because it has caused so much disruption to our lives. One thing I can say is that having had a discussion with the Council’s Chief Executive Sefton will be conducting a full review into how it responded to the unprecedented cold snap.
A thought this Boxing Day morning for organisations like the Salvation Army who do great work at this time of year looking after those who have nothing. I do not have a religion but I am immensely proud of the Salvation Army volunteers in the Borough.
And finally, what about the cricket down under! To wake this morning with such great news of our performance over night was warming indeed. Let’s hope they can keep it up and win the Test.
I have cut and pasted the latest from Sefton Council below. May I wish everyone all the very best for Christmas.
Here is the latest update on the severe weather situation in Sefton
going into the Christmas holiday period. This information is now
available on the Sefton Council website and the refuse and recycling
information has also been issued to the local media.
Council staff and gritting contractors will be working throughout the
Christmas period to respond to weather conditions and ensure roads are
treated. Gritting will continue to take place every night for as long as
road temperatures remain below zero.
Cleansing staff who are unable to undertake normal duties on working
days will be redeployed to clear ice in badly affected areas.
We will also continue to use mechanical diggers on routes where
gritting continues to have little, or no, effect due to the low
temperatures and the depth of compacted ice. There remains a risk
however that this could cause significant damage to the carriageway.
Refuse and recycling collections
All residents are being asked to place their refuse and recycling out
as normal from Tuesday, December 28.
Pending the weather conditions, crews will endeavour to collect
wherever possible. If collections are missed, residents should leave
their recycling and refuse out and crews will aim to collect during the
rest of the week.The main issues relate to the safety of the public and
staff and the potential for wagons to cause damage in icy side roads.
If collections haven’t taken place by 4pm on December 31, then
residents should take their bins back in until the following week.
Residents are also being asked not to put household waste in their green
wheelie bins as these will not be emptied.
The Sefton Council website (http://www.sefton.gov.uk) also includes advice from
United Utilities relating to frozen pipes and an update on library and
leisure centre opening times.
Today I have been talking to elderly residents in the Rockfield, Dawson and Burgess Gardens area of Maghull about the difficulties they are facing with the snow, getting provisions and accessing their properties. Most of the residents here are tenants of One Vision Housing, many are far from steady on their feet and they rely on others to try to help them. As I type this note I am unsure what One Vision have put in place to assist in such circumstances but I am looking for answers.
It feels very cold today indeed, -8 according to my car. Will this weather ever come to an end? I continue to put pressure on Council Officers to do all they can to address the state of Sefton’s roads. Some buses are now running, I saw a 311 myself and am told that the 236 has started up again. Many of our Arriva services come from depots in Southport and Skelmersdale, so our local bus expert Jim Sharpe tells me and conditions there are as bad or worse than here in the East Parishes part of Sefton.