37 Labour councillors agree Wirral Council’s budget for next year & reject amendment to keep Lyndale School open

                                                          

Councillor Phil Davies "I'm pleased that for a second successive year this Administration will freeze Wirral's council tax" Budget Council 24th February 2015

Councillor Phil Davies "I’m pleased that for a second successive year this Administration will freeze Wirral’s council tax" Budget Council 24th February 2015

Video of the Wirral Council Budget meeting of the 24th February 2015 is above and the papers for this meeting are on Wirral Council’s website.

There was plenty of blame to go round at last night’s Council meeting, called to agree Wirral Council’s budget for 2015/16.

Labour’s Cllr Phil Davies blamed both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. The Tory Leader Cllr Jeff Green chose instead to blame the Labour Administration on Wirral Council. The Lib Dems said that both Tories (on using money for welfare assistance for other purposes) and Labour (on streetlights not being fixed) were wrong, but did agree with Cllr Green’s plea for a U-turn on the closure of Lyndale School.

The sole Green Party councillor Cllr Pat Cleary blamed first the Conservatives referring to “untold misery” caused by housing benefit reforms and then the Labour Administration for accepting the Council Tax Freeze Grant which he called “simply a bribe”.

It then went on and on and on a lot more with backbench councillors trying to score political points. In the end Labour wouldn’t back down on closing Lyndale School and the votes were as follows:

Lib Dem Budget
Votes: 5 for, 56 against, 1 abstention
LOST

Conservative amendment to Schools Budget to reverse Lyndale School closure decision
Votes: 24 for, 37 against, 1 abstention
LOST

Conservative Budget
Votes: 18 votes for, 43 against, 1 abstention
LOST

Labour budget
Votes: 37 votes for, 24 against, 1 abstention
WON

The councillors went on to agree to Eric Robinson as Chief Executive, unusually by a card vote with 57 votes for, 4 against and 1 abstention.

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Councillor Phil Davies asks for "more sensible decisions" about Mersey Tunnel tolls at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 13th February 2015

Councillor Phil Davies asks for "more sensible decisions" about Mersey Tunnel tolls at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority 13th February 2015

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agree to no rise in Mersey Tunnel tolls for 2015/16

                                              
Following cross-party support for no rise in Mersey Tunnel tolls from councillors on the Merseytravel committee, councillors on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority last week agreed with Merseytravel’s recommendation not to increase the tolls. Cllr Liam Robinson called on both Arriva and Stagecoach to “support local people” and “at the very least freeze their fares” in response to the news.

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority went further than just agreeing with Merseytravel’s recommendation to not increase tolls this year and agreed to set up a task group to look into whether tunnel tolls could come down in future years. The task group would also call for a review of the Mersey Tunnels Act.

Cllr Phil Davies who seconded the motion creating the task group said, “I think it is timely that we do look at the whole arrangement, costing and pricing et cetera for the tunnel tolls because you know we seem to go through this annual process and it seems to inexorably increase year on year. So I do think it is a good idea to set up a task group where we can look at in-depth all of these issues and I think it’s absolutely again the timing is excellent in terms of the devolution agenda and that really plays into that and our asks.”

John McGoldrick of Mersey Tunnel Users Association, a campaign group who have long campaigned for the scrapping of tunnel tolls, “We were very pleasantly surprised at today’s decision to look again at the whole question of Tunnel’s financing and the level of tolls.”

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The budget item starts at 1m33s in the video above of the Cabinet meeting on the Budget on the 10th February 2015

Councillor Phil Davies introduces the Budget for Wirral Council for next year at the Cabinet meeting on 10th February 2015

Councillor Phil Davies (right) introduces Labour’s 2015/16 Budget for Wirral Council at the Cabinet meeting on 10th February 2015

Wirral Council’s Cabinet agree to continue council tax freeze for 2015/16

                                       

Last night’s Cabinet meeting included Labour’s fifteen page budget recommendation to Council on the 24th February so the items below are just some highlights. Although the Wirral Council element of Council Tax is being frozen at 2014/15 levels, the Council Tax for Wirral residents may still go up because of a rise in the amount for Merseyside Police.

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Cllr Jean Stapleton tells Conservatives to “get their priorities right for humanity’s sake” on fire station merger

                                                          

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting of 29th January 2015 (agenda item 5 West Wirral Operational Response Considerations (Post Consultation))

Councillor Jean Stapleton speaking at the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting of 29th January 2015 about opposition to a proposed fire station at Saughall Massie

Councillor Jean Stapleton speaking at the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority meeting of 29th January 2015 about opposition to a proposed fire station at Saughall Massie

Continues from Cllr Lesley Rennie refers to proposed Saughall Massie fire station site in green belt as “a piece of scrappy land”.

CLLR JEAN STAPLETON (Lead Member for Finance, Assets and Efficiencies) representing Wirral Council: I would definitely go with the Chief’s recommendation and I concur with Councillor Rennie but I would suggest also Lesley you might have a word with your colleagues in West Wirral because there’s an opportunity for them here to show some political leadership in the community to help them, I hate to say but get their priorities right for humanity’s sake!
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Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority’s £110,000 Community Fund for 2015-2016 will be launched on Tuesday 10th February

 

Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority 6th February 2015 L to R Cllr Irene Williams, Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, Cllr Tony Concepcion, Cllr Kevin Cluskey and Cllr Steve Williams

Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority 6th February 2015 L to R Cllr Irene Williams, Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins, Cllr Tony Concepcion, Cllr Kevin Cluskey and Cllr Steve Williams

The Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority met on the 6th February 2015 with most of the meeting being about agreeing next year’s budget and financial matters.

As part of the meeting changes to the application process for this year’s Community Fund were agreed. The Merseyside Waste and Recycling Authority last year awarded £10,000 to Tomorrow’s Women Wirral for refurbishment of their Birkenhead base using recycled materials and £9,064 to Wirral Change’s “Too Good to Waste” project.
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