We have all heard of the Chancellor’s Northern Powerhouse but the reality across Town Halls in the north of England is more akin to Poorhouse than Powerhouse.
With Council budgets being cut, way, way beyond what anyone thought they could be/should be the reality is community services being reduced to an absolute minimum.
Don’t get me wrong, of course local government had to play its part as the UK tried to re-balance its books after the financial crash which happened during the last Labour government’s watch. However, to reduce local government across northern England to the point where it is virtually unable to deliver anything but very basic services of poor quality is what is actually happening.
Yes, no one has much sympathy for those who run our Town Halls as many think, and possibly with good reason, that too much money goes on paying the wages of officers and councillors.
So the cuts have gone too deep but are our councils too stuck in the past to reform themselves? Sadly if you look at Sefton Council the answer has to be yes they are stuck in the past and it’s a past that costs us money.
Just look at the opportunity to reduce the number of councillors from 3 per ward down to 2. Should it happen? Yes of course it should as Councils are delivering far fewer services and managing much small budgets than in the past. But what does Sefton Council under its Labour leadership do? It votes not to reduce the number of councillors and keeps on paying 66 when it could be paying 44. Makes no sense and neither has Labour explained why it voted to keep 66.
Then again look at the amount Sefton Council’s Cabinet members are paid. It is still higher than many other councils. Clearly there are savings to be made here but to date Labour have fought to keep their high wage earning Cabinet members on those high wages.
Local government in Sefton is being done no favours when sensible reforms are resisted. Time to wake up Labour – cut the number of councillors and the wages paid to Cabinet members in Sefton.