February 2011 Archives

As regular blog readers will know trains are close to by heart as a daily Merseyrail user.

Today my colleague Neil Hodgson reports that the planned replacement of the Merseyrail fleet has been delayed by two years.

So the region's train network will have the same trains until 2017, by which time the network will be creaking with overcrowding.

Back in 2007 the network carried 35m people, this year it will be around 40m. Who knows how many people will be using the network by 2017, but passenger figures are likely to grow significantly.

Today Liverpool council announces the 'worst cuts in living memory'.

Below is a copy of the full briefing paper the council has sent out to its 90 councillors.

It is lengthy but worth a read:

Everton FC's accounts released today are likely to do little to comfort fans who believe the club faces a less and less competitive future.

Sure the club is not going bust, as has been suggested by some fans in recent days.

But neither is it swimming in cash as debts are rising and now stand at £45m, up 18%.

The wage bill is a key issue, now almost every £7 of income goes into wages. Not as high as some clubs, but higher than the likes of Liverpool FC and Arsenal.

So what about the future then? When Elstone jokes that he can't see the record transfer fee of £15m for Fellaini being broken, he means that fans need to temper their expectations.

Today The Mersey Partnership published its latest economic review which sounds a cautiously optimistic tone about the region's economy.

It is also another attempt by TMP to fend off critics and those who would like to see it merged with Liverpool council's regeneration arm Liverpool Vision.

TMP increasingly talks of pooling resources and is becoming less reliant on public sector cash.

Rather subtly you will not see mention of the public sector in its description of what it does on the back page of the economic review.

When David Cameron decided to launch his Big Society vanguards in Liverpool in the summer many saw it as a new chapter in relations between a city and a Conservative party that have not always seen eye to eye.

Despite the fact Joe Anderson had to sit in the audience at the launch he decided to go along with it, desperate to show that a Labour council could work with a Conservative government,

In the run up to both the local and general elections last year, both the Labour party and the Conservatives were at pains to say that should both win the respective elections there would be no repeat of the 80s showdowns.

Fast forward a few months and Cllr Anderson is delivering a bloody nose to the Prime Minister by sensationally pulling out of his Big Society vanguard.

Liverpool council has today sensationally pulled out of Prime Minister's Big Society project in the city.

In the summer the city was selected as one of four so-called vanguard areas. It was the biggest city taking part and only Labour controlled area involved in the project.

In a two page letter council leader Joe Anderson tells David Cameron that the government's cuts have seriously undermined the ability of community organisations to improve the quality of life of residents.

Here is the letter:

Robert Tressell was the creative mastermind behind one of the most influential books of the 20th Century - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

The Irish-born unemployed painter and decorator took up the pen to keep from the workhouse, but unable to make ends meet he decided to try his chances in Canada. He got as far as Liverpool, where his health failed and he died on February 3, 1911 at the age of just 40.

It wasn't until three years after his death that his daughter was successful in getting the 1,600 page manuscript for The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists published.

Julian Todd is a computer programmer who lives in Liverpool.

He has spent dozens of hours over the last couple of years battling Liverpool council and BT to release the Liverpool Direct Limited joint venture contract under the Freedom of Information Act.

Finally after countless letters and delays from the council and BT the Information Commissioner forced the release of the contract.

This is a huge victory for Freedom of Information (FOI) and Julian should be congratulated for his persistence in getting a finding in his favour from the Information Commissioner.

Dale Street Associates

David Bartlett

David Bartlett

City editor of the Post and Echo covering politics, regeneration, and urban affairs.
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