Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and the Bishop of Liverpool will host a summit of large cities to challenge and demand changes to the Government’s unfair distribution of local authority funding.
The event will be held at the Arena and Convention Centre (ACC Liverpool) on Friday 18 January 2013, and will be attended by representatives of other ‘core’ cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield.
Mayor Anderson said: “Local government is facing unprecedented reductions in funding which will change forever the way in which we deliver services. Nobody will be left untouched by the scale of cuts.
“Big cities have been hit the hardest, and in Liverpool we have lost more than half of our controllable spending.
“By 2017 we estimate we will have lost a staggering £284 million a year compared to when I took control.
“We have no choice but to implement the cuts and set a legal budget, otherwise the Government will come in and do it for us. However I will always challenge the Government over the grossly unfair way in which it has chosen to distribute funding cuts, which are totally disproportionate and are hitting the most deprived areas the hardest.
“We are demanding the government listen and take notice of the dire situation faced by local authorities, and will be highlighting how their policies are jeopardising the services we provide.”
During the event, each city will speak about the impact of the cuts and how they are tackling them.
The leaders attending from other cities will be:
Birmingham – Council Leader Sir Albert Bore
Bristol – Mayor George Ferguson
Newcastle – Council Leader Nick Forbes
Sheffield – Council Leader Julie Dore
The conference will also hear from senior faith leaders from each city, giving a response to the messages, and conveying a strong collective argument as to how the cuts are being felt across communities.
The Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones, recently highlighted the issue in the House of Lords, where he described the cuts as “draconian”.
During the debate, which took place in the Houses of Parliament on 29 November, Bishop James said: “I do not deny the need to be financially prudent or the need to live within our means. I also understand how difficult it is for the Government to be pressed persistently to fund all the demands on the public purse. The question I want to press is not whether there should be cuts to the budget but, rather, how assured the Government are that the financial settlement across the nation is fair.”
He added: “The city of Liverpool is expected to reduce its spending by 52 percent over the next four years. For people to be able to accept such drastic measures there has to be a sense of fairness across the country. There is genuine fear in the city over the impact of 25 percent cuts in adult social care over the next four years and 25 percent cuts in children’s services. It is demoralising to analyse the statistics across the country and discover that, far from there being a level playing field, there are staggeringly steep differences in funding across the nation, which makes the pain of applying these cuts even more severe.”
Arising from the conference, the Bishop of Liverpool will lead a high-profile delegation of faith leaders to the Government to put forward the arguments for fairness.
Savings required in Liverpool City Council’s budget from 2011 – 2017:
2011-12: £91 million (achieved)
2012-13: £50 million (on target)
2013-14: £32 million (estimate)
2014-15: £40 million (estimate)
2015-16: £33 million (estimate)
2016-17: £38 million (estimate)