THE GUARDIAN UNLIMITED HAVE MADE COMMENT ON THE LATEST EMBARACEMENT FOR LIVERPOOL CITY COUNCIL TAX PAYERS.
WARREN BRADLEY AND HIS TEAM OF LIBERAL DEMOCRATS HAVE TAKEN OUR MONEY AND SPENT IT ON THEIR FRIENDS AND PAID OFF THOSE WHO MESS UP.
WARREN BRADLEY HAS LEAD OUR CITY INTO FINANCIAL CRISIS.
Liverpool council bottom of league
· Financial management is worst in England
· Minister's statement infuriated local authorities
David Hencke, Westminster correspondent
Tuesday January 29, 2008
Liverpool - the council which John Healey, the local government minister, said could save its council tax payers more than £100 a year each - was named as the worst financially managed local authority in England by an independent watchdog yesterday.
The Liberal Democrat-controlled authority comes out alongside Southend and the Isles of Scilly as the worst in the country in an analysis by the Audit Commission.
The findings come days after Healey listed savings which could be made by the 10 highest spending authorities in England to meet government targets to save £4.9bn, and how much cash could be saved by an average band D council tax payer. Liverpool was the highest in the country, at £101.
The statement provoked fury from the councils - seven wrote to the Guardian yesterday accusing the minister of playing party politics and saying the authorities had made huge savings already, far in advance of ministerial demands.
In his letter Paul Clein, a Liberal Democrat councillor on Liverpool's children's executive, said the minister's claim was "blatantly partisan and contradicted by the evidence".
Last night he admitted that the Audit Commission's findings showed that "it is not as good as we made out ... we have made good progress in education and children's services but I have to admit our housing has been poor, which is why we are handing it over to a mutual society."
He blamed part of the problem on the cost of Liverpool "being the European City of Culture this year, which we are funding 60% and has led to people taking their eye off the ball".
Healey was diplomatic, pointing out that the report also showed that other councils had improved their performance: "I am pleased to see that the majority of councils continue to improve the management of their finances, as all council tax payers would expect them to do, but there is no room for complacency and I agree with the Audit Commission that there is still much scope for improvement."
The Local Government Association, which had also attacked the minister for highlighting possible council tax cuts, was silent on Liverpool's plight yesterday, preferring to concentrate on the report's more positive findings.
Sir Simon Milton, its chairman, said: "This report is a ringing endorsement of the efforts councils have made to provide an ever better deal for the taxpayer. The commission has confirmed that more than nine out of 10 authorities are meeting or exceeding requirements."
Best and worst
Worst financially managed
Isles of Scilly
Worst value for money
Best financially managed
Best value for money
Source: Audit Commission