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TAX PAYERS FURIOUS: Reaction to Wirral Council report

TAX PAYERS FURIOUS: Reaction to Wirral Council report

Wirral Council has seen around £250m of its central government funding cut since 2010

Tax payers are furious that Wirral’s much-loved libraries and leisure services may have to be sold as the council looks to get out of a financial crisis.

Wirral Council has requested exceptional financial support of more than £10m from the government in order to try and balance its budget.

This led to an independent inspection of the teetering local authority.

That inspection, carried out by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, has now been published and it makes for grim reading – both in terms of its assessment of the management of the council and what it advises should happen next.

The report slates councillors and officers, saying that there has been a culture of avoiding difficult decisions.

Wirral Council has seen around £250m of its central government funding cut since 2010, and is currently trying to find a further £30m of savings ahead of its next budget.

To bridge the gap, the report said the authority needs to reduce the number of libraries, leisure centres, golf clubs, and public toilets in the borough, as well as selling Wallasey and Birkenhead Town Halls.

Reacting to the news on the Facebook group Crimewatch Wirral, many were furious.

One person said: “Yes of course take our libraries, something that serves the public, is educational and has a useful purpose.

“Well they will have a fight on their hands if they try to close Hoylake Library.”

While another said: “Why? What all of a sudden has caused this to be a necessity? For decades the libraries have been an integral part of our communities and the very few people in high up positions are trying to take them away from the many that need them, disgraceful!”

Others wondered how much there was left to cut.

One person said: “We have already lost so much in the Wirral.

“There’s absolutely nothing left to take from us. It’s a good job we have such a lovely community that does so much raising funds and providing us with foodbanks etc.”

They added: “We are completely pushed to the curb and we need to start standing our ground.

“It’s disgusting how we have been neglected. Our kids have nothing to do, I can’t see a future anytime soon.”

On the Facebook group Bebington Community Page, some were worried about the future of Brackenwood Golf Course, one of four public golf clubs in Wirral.

Although there are no plans to build houses at the course, some fear this is the way things could go if the course closes.

One person said: “It would be so sad if houses were put on the lovely Brackenwood Golf Course.”

While another said they would rather see the council go bust than lose their local golf course.

Paul Satoor, chief executive of Wirral Council, said: “Wirral Council welcomes the indication from DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) that the request for exceptional financial support is progressing. As part of the request for this additional support from government, independent assurance reviews have been undertaken.

“We will take time to fully digest the findings and recommendations made in these reviews.

“We are grateful to DLUHC for their ongoing commitment to supporting the council through this process.”

 

Words: George Morgan, Local Democracy Reporter


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