Wirral Council – Wirral Council 23rd May 2011 – Part 13 – speech (Cllr Steve Foulkes) on being made Leader of Wirral Council

Cllr Foulkes said he was a proud man to be in that position [of Leader of Wirral Council]. He thanked his predecessor Cllr Jeff Green. He said he knew what it was like to make tough decisions. He said that [Cllr Green] had a sense of humour and had done what he thought best. He also thanked Simon Holbrook and said he had put his arm around him at the count in Birkenhead as he had looked dejected. However Simon had told him he could now get his life back.

He said the leadership style doesn’t have to be at each other’s throats, just to get a kick out of it. He said he found the FoulkesWirral [he meant the FoulkesWorld Twitter account] insulting to this. Cllr Green had landed him with an impossible task. He referred to £5 million and said there was a polite difference as to who to blame. Cllr Foulkes said they should have protested at the government. He said they needed to stand up to the new [Coalition Con/Lib Dem] government and asked why? Why was it on deprivation funding that Dorset had lost only £91/head whereas Liverpool had lost £161/head? He carried on saying that people had seen the figures and think it’s a raw deal.

He blamed his own [Labour] government for not having locked in specific grants, which then became a target for the cuts. He said it was disproportionate to other people. He acknowledged the need to make savings, but not to services people love. He had not seen the plans when the Leader of the Council….

Cllr Jeff Green interrupted and corrected him to former leader.

Cllr Steve Foulkes continued with his view that frontline services could get slower or less regular. He said 1,300 people had left. He said the people left behind were working harder, but had not had much choice regarding redundancy and getting a job elsewhere. In the private sector redundancy was like holding the sword of Damocles over someone’s head. Morale was at a low level. As a consequence there were difficult decisions moving forward. However he was not going to war. He said they needed to get their heads together as party leaders and go to the Government minister regarding the funding formula. He was not asking for funds to be replenished. However he was asking that money be distributed in a progressive Labour way regarding deprivation funding and poor and vulnerable people.

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Author: John Brace

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