Cllr Rennie next to speak said “If it was true [in relation to the Foulkesworld Twitter account] she was really worried, however she thought it was the product of a twisted mind. She said there had been signs of progress and that never before had the Council, staff, officers and residents worked together. She said … Continue reading “Wirral Council – Wirral Council 23rd May 2011 – Part 10 – speech (Cllr Lesley Rennie) on leader motion/amendment”
Cllr Rennie next to speak said “If it was true [in relation to the Foulkesworld Twitter account] she was really worried, however she thought it was the product of a twisted mind. She said there had been signs of progress and that never before had the Council, staff, officers and residents worked together. She said they had run things in an open and transparent manner and hoped it would continue. Never in [Wirral Council’s] previous history had there been such a wide consultation exercise. The wishes of the people had been carried out or if impossible they had been written to. The next administration had to engage openly and honestly. Cllr Green’s leadership had supported a strong and able Cabinet with the support of the Liberal Democrats. However not here today were three Lib Dem former Cabinet members [Gill Gardiner, Bob Moon, Simon Holbrook]. She was concerned that a new administration would take Wirral Council back to the “bad old days” driven by dogma.
She said whenever a party is in government that members of that party who are local councillors suffer. She referred to John Major telling Conservative councillors in 1995 to take a sabbatical and that it may be a while. After 24 years, Wirral Council was Conservative led, run for the people of Wirral. She took a dim view of the Lib Dems and said there were not nine empty seats as there had been in 1991. She said she couldn’t imagine they were elected to Wirral Council to sit on their hands. Cllr Rennie repeated they were not elected to sit on their hands, but thought perhaps they had lost the glue that kept them together under the strong leadership of Simon Holbrook, deputy leader Gill Gardiner, Bob Moon and Stuart Kelly (who had been to one Cabinet meeting). She said it would be a shame to be tearing things apart when they had been willing to challenge when necessary.
In conclusion he said that change was the only constant, stressed the importance of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said that there was a constant focus on interagency working and that the footprint (meaning the population a hospital served) would be changing.
Cllr Green spoke about the partnership work and referred to his role as a hospital governor. He asked in regards to a cottage hospital why a large footprint was required to provide a quality service? Mr. Richards replied that a sufficient population base with the right amount of patients was required for a higher quality of outcome. He said unlike decades ago that general physicians were not employed now by a District General Hospital. Instead doctors were cardiologists, gastroenterologists, specialist diabetic doctors etc. Even in cardiology, doctors focussed on certain types of heart conditions. In order to keep up their level of expertise these doctors needed to see numbers of patients that were more if a hospital served a population of greater than 250,000 for example the Wirral and Cheshire population. Wirral and Cheshire share a renal and dermatology service. Looking at specialist cardiology, there had to be a balance between access to services at a local level and quality of service. In this area the vast majority were seen in an outpatient setting.
Cllr Rennie asked about the high number of stillbirths reported in the media and what WUTH was doing about this. The answer was that they employed CHKS to compare their clinical data to a peer group of other hospital trusts of a similar size. WUTH was in the top quartile and the issues they were not performing as well on compared to other trusts were organisational things. For example the length of hospital stays and their rates of day cases were lower. He said the Maternity Hospital was in the top 10.
Well yesterday the Conservative & Lib Dem Cabinet “unveiled” their Wirral Council budget for 2011/2012. Labour’s (opposition) budget will arrive by noon on Friday the 25th February.
Next Monday (1st March) the full Council will vote on the budget, although with 41 (yes I know it’s 42 including the Lib Dem Mayor but generally he doesn’t vote as he’s supposed to be politically neutral as part of his office) “progressive partnership” councillors to Labour’s 25 24 (edit – I sometimes forget Cllr. Knowles had switched from Labour to Tory and the independent Cllr Kirwan isn’t still with Wirral Council) councillors, I’m sure even Labour can do the maths and realise Labour’s budget will be defeated next Monday (with no need for Budget Part 2 on the evening of the 9th March) by around seventeen votes.
Can you see which bits of the Budget are from the Lib Dem side and which from the Conservative side? Yes you can see “the seams” between the two halves as we continue to be two independent political parties with minds and policy making processes of our own. If you look really hard you can see the bits influenced by yours truly and others (for example the 4-year rolling programme for 20 mph residential zones discussed last year by the party when Cllr Quinn was Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Transport) now carried forward by Cllr Rennie.
One Lib Dem policy coming into play is the pupil premium which means about £5 million extra for Wirral Schools to spend on children on free school meals, looked after children and service children. You should’ve heard the “wails of anguish” at the Wirral Schools Forum from headmasters/headmistresses from the more prosperous parts of the Borough when they realised £5 million would be spent on improving the educational chances of the most needy! Clearly Wirral is a place of large social divides and the extra money will be a welcome boost to the schools in Bidston & St. James.
So what may you ask is “in the budget”? Well, first to deal with the elements of the council tax that are made up by Merseyside Police’s budget and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s budget. Both Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service froze their contributions from Council Tax compared to last year (2010/2011).
Due to increased costs and inflation (as well as a high proportion of its costs being on staff), Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will be cutting some jobs. Their Chief Exec/treasurer explains the situation in a self-styled “podcast” (I don’t think he quite knows what a podcast is but I have to give them a few marks for trying), which unfortunately with my browser Firefox either opens a blank black window or six video windows of him at once creating an echo effect so I’ve uploaded it to Youtube (which has slightly better audio quality than five echoes).
For the purposes of any copyright lawyers out there, as the work has been made previously available to the public (and still is on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s website at this location), this is classed as “fair dealing” under s.30 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and is being done for the purpose of news reporting (and making sure you can hear what the speaker says).
Quite why councillors on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service left it to an officer to record a video to explain the cuts is a mystery I’m sure my humble readers can enlighten me on in the comments section (or maybe I’ll just ask Cllr Ellis, Cllr Niblock, Cllr Rennie or Cllr Roberts next time I see them).