City hosts summit over ‘unfair’ cuts

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The Echo Arena. Photo: Ida Husøy

Liverpool is to lead a summit of cities who feel they have been hit unfairly by the nationwide spending cuts, as the mayor claimed the city council has lost over half of its budget.

Mayor Joe Anderson and Anglican Bishop James Jones will host the event at the Echo Arena and BT Convention Centre on the 18th January and will be joined by leaders from Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield councils.

Mayor Anderson said: “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.”

The summit will see all the representatives speak about how spending cuts have affected them and what measures are being taken to deal with the impact.

Liverpool City Council Cabinet is set to meet for the second of three budget cut proposal tranches in February, with cuts of £143million being needed to be found from the £480million budget over the next four years. Wirral Borough Council has been hit equally hard with a third of the public spending funding, £100million of a £300million pot, disappearing over the same time period.

Joe Anderson © Trinity Mirror

Joe Anderson © Trinity Mirror

Faith leaders from each city are also expected to address the conference, with the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones appearing on behalf of the host city, having suggested that the cuts affecting Liverpool are “draconian”.

In an address to the House of Commons, the Bishop 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 per cent over the next four years. 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.”

About Sam McDonnell, JMU Journalism