Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?

Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?

Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?

                                                         

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Budget Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th February 2018 Part 1 of 2

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Budget Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th February 2018 Part 2 of 2

Councillor Janette Williamson left Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation middle Cllr Stuart Whittingham right Cllr Matthew Patrick Cabinet Wirral Council 19th February 2018
Councillor Janette Williamson left Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation middle Cllr Stuart Whittingham right Cllr Matthew Patrick Cabinet Wirral Council 19th February 2018

The author of this piece declares a financial interest in that my wife is liable to pay council tax to Wirral Council for a residential property we both live in on the Wirral.

The piece was possible because of a collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the overall increase was 5.2%, when it is in fact 5.98%. This was corrected at 19:22 on the 21.2.18 by JB.


Wirral Council’s Cabinet on Monday morning (19th February 2018) agreed to recommend a 5.99% rise in the Wirral Council element of council tax for 2018-19. You can watch video clips of that public meeting above.
Continue reading “Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?”

Why is Registrar Worth asking this blog to unpublish Wirral Council’s Grounds of Appeal about keeping the Hoylake Golf Resort contract secret?

Why is Registrar Worth asking this blog to unpublish Wirral Council’s Grounds of Appeal about keeping the Hoylake Golf Resort contract secret?

                                   

Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page
Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page

I declare an interest in this piece below as the person who made the original information request. I have completely obscured the names and partially obscured the email address of the solicitors for the other parties (ICO and Wirral Council) dealing with this matter.
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Councillors on Merseyside Police and Crime Panel agree to 7.2% rise in police element of council tax from April 2018

Councillors on Merseyside Police and Crime Panel agree to 7.2% rise in police element of council tax from April 2018

Councillors on Merseyside Police and Crime Panel agree to 7.2% rise in police element of council tax from April 2018

                                 

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Merseyside Police and Crime Panel 6th February 2018 Part 1 of 3

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Merseyside Police and Crime Panel 6th February 2018 Part 2 of 3

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Merseyside Police and Crime Panel 6th February 2018 Part 3 of 3

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Merseyside Police and Crime Panel 6th February 2018 slides

Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) 6th February 2018 Merseyside Police and Crime Panel
Jane Kennedy (Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside) 6th February 2018 Merseyside Police and Crime Panel

On Tuesday, the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel (the two councillors on it from the Wirral are Cllr Tony Smith (Labour) and Cllr Cherry Povall (Conservative)) agreed to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s request for a 7.2% rise in the element of council tax that goes to pay for the Merseyside Police.
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Wirral Council claims no disclosable conflicts of interest over grant of Saughall Massie fire station planning application

Wirral Council claims no disclosable conflicts of interest over grant of Saughall Massie fire station planning application

Wirral Council claims no disclosable conflicts of interest over grant of Saughall Massie fire station planning application

                                        

Planning Committee (Wirral Council) site visit Saughall Massie fire station 18th July 2017 photo 1 of 40
Planning Committee (Wirral Council) site visit Saughall Massie fire station 18th July 2017 This photo shows the distance between the proposed fire station and the nearby residential properties referred to in the letter below

Below is the text of a letter I received earlier this month from a David Ball at Wirral Council following a stage 1 complaint I made about the grant of planning permission APP/17/00306 (which was for a fire station in Saughall Massie).

I will point out that there are aspects to the letter I don’t agree with, but in the interests of transparency, the public interest in the matter and the seniority of David Ball I am publishing it below. As it’s two pages, a link break is shown between the two pages.
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Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

Why has Wirral Council agreed to write to the government asking for money and for the government to meet people affected by the New Ferry explosion?

                                                  

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Council (Wirral Council) 10th July 2017 Part 8 of 17 (Support for New Ferry)

Usually the press outnumber the public in the public gallery above the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall.

Wallasey Town Hall (public gallery) Wirral Council 10th July 2017
Wallasey Town Hall (public gallery) Wirral Council 10th July 2017

Monday evening’s meeting of Wirral Council’s councillors was different as many people (see photo above) with connections to New Ferry had turned up to listen to the debate on the notice of motion about New Ferry following the explosion earlier this year.

After around two hours of waiting, councillors rearranged the agenda so that the Support for New Ferry motion was heard first (rather than fourth). This motion was proposed by Cllr Warren Ward and seconded by Cllr Phil Davies.

A large explosion in New Ferry happened on Saturday 25 March. Many buildings in the area had to be evacuated because of structural damage (these were buildings used for both residential and business purposes), roads were closed and at least one person injured ended up in hospital. Cllr Warren Ward’s notice of motion asked for Wirral Council to write to the national government to intervene and to help.

Councillor Phil Davies (Leader) estimated that Wirral Council’s costs so far in dealing with the aftermath as around £300,000.

Cllr Warren Ward (Bromborough) criticised the government for sending a minister to visit the area some time after it happened.

He singled out a government minister for further criticism, stating that the minister had said in a local radio interview that the government had been supporting Wirral Council since day one of the explosion. Cllr Ward described this as a “kick in the teeth to all those residents affected crying out for government support only to receive nothing”.

Councillor Warren Ward thanked the “phenomenal emergency services”, “[Wirral] Council officers” and “community members”. He referred to the community members as “picking up the burden”.

He explained that Wirral Council employees had been working “15 hour days” at a cost of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” asking, “why isn’t the government playing its role in supporting the residents affected by the New Ferry disaster?”

At the end of his speech he received nearly thirty seconds of applause and a standing ovation.

Cllr Adam Sykes (Clatterbridge) moving an amendment to Cllr Warren Ward’s notice of motion started by thanking the members of public in the gallery for waiting “a long time”.

He described meetings of residents he had attended and the impact and distress the disaster had had on them. Cllr Sykes described people who had lost everything and how others had no insurance and how people were “looking for answers”.

His speech covered the cause of the blast and resident’s fears that it could happen again. Wirral Council employees were once again thanked and the community for their “hard work”. Describing Cllr Warren Ward as an “outstanding example of a councillor in our Council for all his tireless work ”, he explained that the amendment wasn’t to take anything away but sought to support by “exploring other options”.

Cllr Sykes explained that in the short-term Wirral Council should use its own funds held in reserves for emergencies and to explore financial assistance under the Bellwin Scheme as he was not sure whether that had been done yet.

He agreed that Wirral Council should work with the government to “resolve this situation” and said he had spoken to the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP (Minister for Communities and Local Government) on a number of occasions and that the Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP was clear that the government “wished to help” to discuss a plan with Wirral Council officers.

During the general election (when Cllr Sykes was the Conservative candidate hoping to be MP for Wirral South after the general election in June) he said that he hadn’t wanted to bring the Rt Hon Sajid Javid to the blast site, as it would appear that Cllr Sykes was after a “photo opportunity”.

He was at this point heckled by the public gallery.

Cllr Sykes said he had told Cllr Warren Ward that he didn’t want to make the issue a “political football”, he repeated his request for Wirral Council to provide a plan to the government. Referring to a visit by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse on the 6th of July 2017, he said that the Minister had asked during that visit for the plan to be submitted so “things could move forward”. The councillor continued by saying that it was the responsibility of “all of us” (referring to both Wirral Council and the government) “to look after our neighbours when they”re in need”. He said it was about “basic compassion and shouldn’t stop at [political] party boundaries” and that he wished to work with all Wirral Council councillors and the community to help the people of New Ferry.

He was further heckled by the public gallery.

Cllr Irene Williams (Bromborough) thanked the Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram for a contribution by the LCRCA of £20,000. She thanked Wirral Council employees and people in the community who she described as “working tirelessly”, she said that New Ferry was in need of “emergency funding”. Cllr Williams said that the government had indicated it couldn’t help because of the general election (which had now been over for a month) and referred to residents being “traumatised”. She described some residents as suffering flashbacks, how businesses will close and how some buildings would have to be demolished.

Cllr Williams described New Ferry as “struggling before the explosion” and asked for a “fair share of help from governnment”. She received applause for her speech.

Other speakers in the debate were Cllr Ian Lewis (Wallasey), Cllr Ron Abbey (Leasowe and Moreton East), Cllr Dave Mitchell (Eastham), Cllr Chris Blakeley (Moreton West and Saughall Massie), Cllr Jerry Williams (Bebington), Cllr Stuart Whittingham (Upton & Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport), Cllr Chris Carubia (Eastham), Cllr Tracey Pilgrim (Clatterbridge), Cllr Phil Davies (Birkenhead and Tranmere & Leader) and finally again Cllr Warren Ward (Bromborough).

The vote on the Conservative amendment was lost (24:36:1 (for:against:abstain)).

The vote on the original Labour motion was passed (60:0:1 (for:against:abstain)).

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