In a heated 'consultation' meeting at the Town Hall on 27 October the leader of Liverpool City Council, Joe Anderson, said he had no choice but to implement the coalition cuts of £52 million. In the next day's papers there was a report of pay increases of 49% for the directors of the UK's top companies. Below we look at the possible impacts of cuts and at cases where the effect is already being felt.
Dave Walsh, convenor of LCC Unite, explained to Nerve what is in store for council workers.
"Following Job Evaluation, Liverpool City Council (LCC) are looking to draw the new pay line so low that over 23% of workers will lose pay: some will lose as much as £5,000. LCC are also proposing to break with national terms and conditions by reducing enhancements for Saturday, Sunday and night work. This will further reduce pay for workers involved in care, libraries and leisure. This is our third year of pay freezes, which equates to a pay cut of about 18%. On top of that you can add the 3% the government is about to impose on pension contributions. And when you take into account that over 1,100 staff have gone in the last twelve months, leaving other workers with a massively increased workload, you can imagine how low morale is at the present time."
Liverpool City Council have announced a range of cuts options, including the removal of school crossing patrols and free school milk for five to seven-year-olds. Care services are likely to be severely cut with even those whose needs are rated as “substantial” being hit.
The £2 million cost of Central Library, being renovated under a private finance initiative (PFI), will almost certainly mean that some libraries on the outskirts of Liverpool will close.
In February 2011, Liverpool City Council announced that RASA, the local rape and sexual assault advice service, was to have its funding withdrawn. This withdrawal of funds to RASA is symptomatic of the widespread attack on women (instead of bankers) by this Tory-led government, and it highlights how crucial welfare and public services are to women: as service users, beneficiaries, and employees.
Four Liverpool Sure Start Children's Centres could be shut next March. The future of a further two centres is being discussed by the council. Sure Start is one of the few success stories from the last Labour government. A recent report from the Fawcett Society stresses the vital benefits these centres offer thousands of families. Their role in the development of young children is essential.
Gil Sheehan uses Church & Mossley Hill Centre with her twins. She spoke to Nerve about what closure would mean to them.
"The staff here are excellent, and always around if you need help. Our centre has been purpose built and provides a life-line. It's the only one in Liverpool, within easy reach, that has designated twins' sessions; there are 24 sets of twins using this centre! I don't know what I'll do if the centre closes."
Make your views known at: email@example.com. Consultation ends on 16 December 2011. The other centres facing closure are: Hunts Cross, West Derby and Childwall.
A number of Food Banks have opened on Merseyside. Chris Mould, of the
Trussell Trust, says, "The Department for Work and Pensions will
say people's benefits are not stopped while a re-assessment is taking
place. That is not true. Our foodbanks are increasingly helping people
who are having their benefits stopped during reassessment."
The new Museum of Liverpool, which cost £72 million, was opened on 19 July with attending celebrities such as Yoko Ono, Mike McCartney and Ken Dodd. Inside, the struggles of Trade Unionists and Suffragettes could be seen. Outside, staff were demonstrating about low pay and cuts at museums: closure of the Conservation Centre, privatisation of security, and up to 40 voluntary redundancies. Visitors were very supportive of the demonstration, called by PCS, the Public and Commercial Services Union. NML - National Museums of Liverpool - though, phoned the police to try to chase them from this 'private land', paid for with tax payers' money. But the police were less than eager, their services also being under threat.
NML have since agreed to increase pay for the lowest earners.
Clara Paillard, PCS Branch chair said, "It's nonsense to cut cultural services as every £1 invested in culture brings £2 into the economy. This government of millionaires wants to cut working class access to culture but we won't let them!"
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