I posted some time ago about what I dubbed ‘Exit Bootle’ as HMRC announced that a huge number of Civil Service jobs were to be taken out of Bootle/Netheron and for some of them then to be relocated within Liverpool. My original posting is available via the link below:-
The devastating effect of these job losses on the fragile Bootle economy has indeed been completely ignored and therefore not taken into account by the those planning the move, this has been admitted to. Government seems to have adopted the stance of ‘this has nothing to do with us, it’s a matter for HMRC to decide upon’ or words to that effect!
But it’s not just Bootle where HMRC is going to effect huge job losses on a local economy, it is happening across the UK and MP’s representing those communities, many of them deprived by many social and economic indicators, are naturally up in arms. So much so that a debate on the floor of the House of Commons was held on 28th April and Peter Dowd the MP for Bootle contributed to it. Here’s a link to the Hansard report on the debate:-
My thanks to Peter for his contribution in my capacity as a serving Civil Servant, a trade unionist and as a former Leader of Sefton Council. Taking jobs out of Bootle in their thousands will harm the economy and, as I have said before, it reverses a well trodden path that has been successful in providing jobs in Sefton. Let’s not forget that HMRC also took jobs away from Southport when they closed Southport Tax Office a few years ago.
Even at this late stage Government needs to stop washing its hands of the matter. Of course Government is responsible for a Civil Service Department reorganising itself in a way that will be economically destructive to many deprived communities across the UK. There’s no one else to blame.
My last posting on this subject for a while I promise
Above is a link to the Westminster Hall debate that I mentioned in my last posting. It makes interesting reading although the inaction of Sefton Council in recent years does not get the prominence that their sit back and watch/sit on the fence approach deserves!
And here is a link to the Liverpool Echo’s take on the debate:-
I get the feeling that the powers that be are actually really on board with a road ‘solution’ and that working up a credible and maximum rail solution is not on the agenda. I am with Peter Dowd here as the process needs to one of putting the maximum amount of freight on rail and only then considering the what needs to be done to improve the roads to and from the docks to Switch Island. The way we are going though it will be the maximum amount of freight by road and a token rail effort!
I still think Sefton Council should be driving this forward because as far as I can see they are just sitting back waiting to blame everyone else when they, in my view, are at fault for not bringing all the agencies together.
What a strange coincidence, the very day (yesterday) that I publish the views of former Sefton Councillor Cliff Mainey on the muddle (that’s putting politely) and trouble over how freight will access the newly expanding Seaforth Dock, Bootle’s MP is raising the same issue in Parliament.
I am glad that Peter Dowd MP is raising the issue (see the link to the Liverpool Echo article, which was written before Peter raised the matter in Westminster Hall, above) but I do wonder how chuffed his Labour colleagues on the Council will be about his intervention.
Is it my imagination or has this been the subject that dare not speak its name on Labour-run Sefton Council or not?
Yes of course Peter is right to focus on the all but nothing approach of Network Rail to the port expansion and yes of course we all want as much freight as possible moved by rail out of the port but why has Sefton Council not been leading this fight?
Of course Government will need to significantly fund any road and/or rail solutions that are brought forward but surely the plans need to have been worked up at a local level. Sefton Council should have been leading this with the City Region Local Economic partnership (LEP) and the City Region Authority itself in collaboration with Highways England and Network Rail. Government is only really going to react to proposals that have been worked up and are properly evidenced. It is this work that should have been going on in detail for the past 3 or 4 years. Why has it not been done?
We should by now know what the viable solutions are and be implementing them but Highways England are just starting consultation, Network Rail seem to be stuck in the sidings and Sefton Council have run for the hills!
So yes Peter, thanks for raising the profile of this issue but dear me how much longer will it take to get everyone pointing in the right direction?
As I have said before the planning of how freight is going to get to and from the expanded docks is a scandal. I will report on what came out of the Westminster Hall debate in due course.
The Southport Visiter has the story – see link above
So Labour MP Bill Esterson seems again to be at odds with his fellow Labour Councillors who run Sefton Council; there is a pattern developing here!
Library closures – Bill opposed them but his Labour councillors ignored him and closed them.
Building on the Green Belt and high grade agricultural land – Bill opposed it but his Labour councillors ignored him and voted to build on it.
Parking charges in Formby – ?
I do wish Bill had been motivated to oppose the Tories Welfare Bill recently, like Lib Dem MP John Pugh (Southport) and Labour MP Peter Dowd (Bootle) did, instead of abstaining in the crucial vote because the Labour Party’s official line was to vote neither in favour nor against it. Surely I must speak for Labour councillors in Sefton when I say how disappointed they must have been that he voted a different way to what they surely would have wanted?
I suspect that I am not the only elector in the Sefton Central Constituency who is livid that my MP abstained in the vote over the Tories Welfare Bill.
Voters in Southport and Bootle Constituencies on the other hand can be happy that their MP’s voted against what I see as an attack on the poorest in our society.
The letter had not been published by the 29th July edition of the newspaper
This is powerful but very clear message. You will notice which Labour Party leadership contender is missing from their line up i.e Jeremy Corbyn as he voted, like our local MP’s John Pugh (Lib Dem) and Peter Dowd (Lab), against the Conservative’s Welfare Bill.