6 Mar 2011

Activity Report for February

Welcome to the latest update. Details below on the Council’s austerity budget, some important street issues and a reminder about upcoming elections and the referendum on voting reform.

Council budget confirms care home closures and 1,100 redundancies

This month, Wirral Council confirmed its budget for the forthcoming financial year. On top of the 1,100 members of staff who have already been made redundant, the budget confirmed the closure of five care and respite homes across the borough.

The Tory leader of the Council continues to spin the line that “no part of Wirral will be left behind”. Perhaps he would like to take a walk around Tranmere and define precisely what he means by this. 24 years of neglect under Labour and now we have policies which are already lengthening the dole queues. All this before the Council’s drastic budget reductions come into force. The coming months will see the full effects of the disastrous economic policies being pursued by the ConDems both locally and nationally. In particular, the impact of a 20% reduction in Council employees on the quality of services and the conditions for those employees left behind will, I believe, become all too apparent.

Thankfully, more and more people are reacting against this and supporting the Green Party position that fairer taxation and targeted investment is the key to getting us out of Labour’s debt hole. The Uk Uncut campaign to force corporations to pay their fair share is gaining huge momentum, including here on Merseyside.  You can also check out a brief summary of the Green Party position on deficit reduction on my web site..

Streets Update

Some especially noteworthy street issues this month.

Firstly, many thanks to all those residents who signed our petition opposing Wirral Council’s plans to close Trinity Lane (off Price Street). This case was up before Birkenhead Magistrates Court on March 3rd. I attended the Court and pre-hearing discussions with the solicitor representing the Council means the case has been postponed. This is to facilitate discussions between myself on behalf of local residents and the Council. Naturally, I’ll be updating you in future reports but already we have shown that the Council cannot easily ignore the wishes of local residents who have effective representation.

Secondly, on Pearson Road/Holt Hill Terrace there was a major wall collapse during the freezing weather. Naturally, local residents have been very concerned about this. I spoke with a member of Council staff during the week. I have been assured that the temporary measures currently in place will only continue for a further six weeks or so. The wall is then due to be rebuilt using matching brick work.

Local elections coming up on May 5th

May 5th sees the next round of local elections and naturally I’ll be hoping for your support on the day. I hope you’ll agree that the horrible mess left by Labour and the disastrous response of the new coalition means we desperately need a fresh voice that will seek to reverse 25 years of neglect across Birkenhead and Tranmere. Our position is clearly laid out in our latest ward newsletter which you can now access online.

May 5th also sees a referendum on the voting system. The current first past the post system is totally unacceptable in a modern democracy and is only favoured by those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. A switch to the AV (alternative vote) system will allow you to rank candidates in your order of preference. It therefore gives you a greater say and ensures the winning candidate gets at least 50% of the vote. While the AV system is not ideal and is a long way from a truly proportional system where every vote counts equally, it is at least an improvement on first past the post. Therefore, I would encourage you to vote YES.

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