My weekly round-up

Council funding discussed in Parliament

I was grateful to see our local MPs standing up in parliament this week to amplify what I have long been saying – Liverpool is suffering immeasurably due to the austerity policy of the Tory government.

If we had just been treated fairly and received the average cut of other councils, we would be an astounding £80million better off. The debate this week was about how much funding councils will have at their disposal for the next year – with their estimate involving a presumed rise of council tax revenue. But as Stephen Twigg pointed out, it is here that a fundamental injustice lies.

To put it in context, a 1 % rise in council tax in Liverpool – a city high in deprivation but low in council tax base – would raise 1.6million. Surrey on the other hand, would receive an additional £6million after applying this same rise.

This striking disparity illuminates how this sham of a government are determined to punish the poor. And while they sit in London in blissful ignorance about the plight of too many of our people, I am witnessing the devastating consequences of these cuts every day.

I know this will fall on deaf ears because the Tories don’t understand fairness – but I won’t let them hold us down. We have already proved that in spite of everything we have not only managed to keep our city running – but also to stack up some impressive achievements along the way.

So we will continue to rise, we will do all we can to protect our most vulnerable citizens and we WILL continue to grow our economy to ensure our great city not just survives, but thrives.

Liverpool chosen to pilot global hospitality qualification

A project I had personally championed came to fruition earlier this week with the launch of the City and Guilds Global Hospitality Certification. Liverpool have been chosen by City and Guilds to pilot this exciting initiative which will see a ‘Liverpool standard’ being introduced around the world. Read more here.

Children’s Mental Health Week

I was incredibly moved on Monday when I arrived at St Georges Hall to find more than 200 tiny pairs of shoes lining the steps – each pair representing a child that had lost their life to suicide in the past year.

I joined Radio City who were broadcasting their weekly ‘Mental Health Monday’ programme live to mark Children’s Mental Health Week, along with a number of related organisations such as Chasing the Stigma and The Oscar Phillips Foundation.

The figures of mental health problems in our children are devastating. From 2015 to 2017, the numbers of Liverpool school pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs increased from 1,833 to 2,139. This is around 3% of the school population and significantly higher than the national average.

However – change is coming as gradually we are seeing the stigma lift as people find their voice. On a practical level, we have introduced a number of initiatives for pupils such as mental health first aid champions and courses developed for primary schools.

And the wheels are in motion for further solid help after we secured £2.5million from the Government to establish a team of mental health support specialists in schools. It will enable children and families to access mental health support at their earliest opportunity, with teams directly treating children or providing access to NHS services for those with more severe needs.

Of course we welcome any funding that is going to help our children and it’s clear that mental health has to be an ultimate priority. But it makes me angry to think of how much more we could be doing if we were getting a fair deal from the Government and hadn’t suffered at the hands of such devastating cuts.

Our city simply cannot endure any more lost childhoods and needless deaths – much-needed, urgent action is now in motion.

The Art of Building Homes

I finished the week in Speke with an afternoon of cutting edge technology that will transform how we build homes.  Read more in my blog about my visit to ideal Modular Homes in a newly refurbished art factory.