Three political parties in Liverpool are joining forces in a united coalition to face up to the harsh realities of the city’s £100million budget cut from central government.

 

The majority Labour Party, main opposition Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, will put aside their political differences to set a new budget, due to be announced on 23rd February. Liverpool City Council needs to save £141m between now and 2013.

 

Council and Labour Leader Joe Anderson said: “These are extremely challenging times and we are facing a reduction in funding the likes of which have not been seen since the Second World War. I am pleased the other party leaders have agreed to work with us.”

 

Opposition leader, Lib Dem Warren Bradley, who told JMU

Journalism last year he would fight to lead the council again

after being ousted in the local elections last May, said: “At

times like this, you have to put aside party differences and

work together for the interests of the city.”

 

A total of £91m needs to be saved this year and next year

alone, which is 22 % of the city’s budget.

 

The unexpected cross-party talks began when Cllr Anderson,

deputy leader Paul Brant, Cllr Bradley and Green Party leader

Sarah Jennings met on Wednesday 12th January.

 

In a telephone conference call to Local Government Minister,

Andrew Stunnell MP on Thursday, they voiced their concern

over cut-back issues.

 

A Liverpool City Council statement said the three parties “have explained to the minister in no uncertain terms the huge difficulties we face in Liverpool in meeting the scale of the budget challenge.

 

“We are not asking for special favours. We are not asking for special treatment. We are not even asking to be spared from all the cuts.”

 

An exact figure of what Liverpool City Council needs to reduce its expenditure is hoped to be confirmed on 10th February.

 

The party leaders said in a statement: “We are hoping that the consultation over this figure is truly genuine and the government are listening.”

 

On Friday, a Labour Party spokesperson confirmed the three parties are working through budget options and more discussions are planned next week.

 

No Conservative MPs are represented in any constituency on Merseyside, so they are not taking part in the talks. The Liberal Party, which has three seats on the city council, are not taking part in the meetings.

 

Cllr Steve Radford said: "The Liberal Party made constructive suggestions on the budget but we would not be obliged to vote for a budget of unknown content and would retain our independence to vote on measures on their merit."

 

 

 

 

 

Parties unite to tackle city's budget crisis

By Chris Bradley, Website Editor

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Lib Dem leader Warren Bradley; Council Leader Joe Anderson; Green Party leader Sarah Jennings

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