Like a visit you’ve been putting off to the dentist, but you know needs to be done, Liverpool City Council yesterday evening held their annual budget meeting
By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)
First publication date: 4th March 2021, 11:09 (GMT).
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Like a visit you’ve been putting off to the dentist, but you know needs to be done, Liverpool City Council yesterday evening (3rd March 2021) held their annual budget meeting (see above).
To hopefully absolutely no one’s surprise whatsoever, council tax for residents of Liverpool will be going up from April 1st 2021. Although Liverpool City Council decided to raise it by the maximum allowed without a referendum (4.99%), the actual percentage rise is slightly different due to amounts decided independently of Liverpool City Council for fire (by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority), police (proposed by the Police and Crime Commissioner and agreed by the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel) and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (proposed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Mayor and agreed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority).
As usual, as the election period is on the horizon, each political party represented on Liverpool City Council (Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green, Liberal) as well those who are independent wanted to have their say on the changes.
The atmosphere of a virtual meeting rather than the lavish surroundings of the Council Chamber at Liverpool Town Hall is however completely different as there is no public audience to clap (or jeer) at appropriate points.
The live broadcast was also switched off by Liverpool City Council but the secondary extraordinary meeting was merged into this one rather than two meetings.
Admittedly this budget meeting ran a bit smoother than one in a previous year when Mayor Anderson started a Powerpoint presentation only for the machine to malfunction part way through leaving him to ad lib jokes about it still being under guarantee.
However the tradition of a budget being presented through slides continued and can be seen from 52:55 to 1:04:26 (yet without the traditional applause and/or standing ovation).
Liverpool City Council councillors are however answerable to the people of Liverpool and indeed not being a resident of Liverpool I come at this from a somewhat different perspective from the other side of the River Mersey as I am only indirectly rather than directly impacted by the decisions of Liverpool City Council.
However the subtext, the mood music, whatever fancy word or phrase you want to use for it because of the events of the past year, have put Liverpool City Council’s politics in a state of flux. The cancelled elections in May 2020 mean that some councillors were not re-elected last year by the people, but were mandated to serve a further year by the national government.
This lack of a say, this lack of a vote not just for a local councillor but other posts such as police and crime commissioner and LCRCA Mayor on top of the events of the last year has led to a sense of anger and injustice.
The usual written and unwritten political rules don’t appear to apply any more and everything is in a state of flux.
Although once Liverpool City Council’s politics was as predictable as the seasons, all I can write is that it reminds me of what Liverpool City Council went through around the time I was a student in the city.
People want actual leadership from their political leaders, not trite soundbites chasing after a headline, but the saddest thing is people don’t feel they’re being listened to any more or involved in politics.
Maybe the elections will sort that out, but I fear for the state of Liverpool City Council politics if it gets worse before it gets better.
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