My bins were not emptied the week before last. I rang the council who, in turn, emailed the contractor (a member of the public cannot do this directly). Now, having been through the complaints process five times, my bins are still unemptied. I still do not know if and when they will be emptied. A basic service unmet.
Bin collection is a responsibility of the council’s Neighbourhood Services. Their committee met last week, endorsing officers’ reports and the like, which they may or may not have read. One report which they could not have read was the missing report on Section 106 funding. This is money ring-fenced for our parks and open spaces, but according to the reporting council officer, they do not know where this money – £4 million – has gone. Another officer has now been tasked with tracking it down. So much for council efficiency.
Should we be surprised, given the council’s record in recent years? We hear lots of spin about investment whilst at the other end of the East Lancs Road, Manchester gathers over one thousand business figures to launch a £1 billion real investment in their booming airport.
Meanwhile, rumours persist that Mayor Anderson is to invest in Liverpool airport, owned by his buddies at Peel. Remember them, the owners of the docks? Their promises of development at the central docks and in Wirral have to date proven to be just that – promises. It would be fascinating to see if the council did invest in the airport; and, if so, the source of the finance.
Incidentally, the council, guided by Mayor Anderson appears to be busy jettisoning assets and money to community interest companies and local residents groups. Whether this is in the interests of the city as a whole – and its council tax payers – is highly debatable, although it may benefit the minority involved in such groups. One small example is the site of the former Anfield Comprehensive School.
Apparently, it is now owned by Liverpool Football Club, to provide parking for those affluent enough to buy seats in their new stand. However, for the past three years, the site has been used for match-day parking for the wider public. The council has dished out the proceeds to selected and self-styled “community groups”. A similar situation occurs for Evertonians at the Walton Park sports centre. The council has given this to the Alt Valley Partnership, who now benefit from this nice little earner.
It makes one wonder what our council does, and what it now does. Indeed, do we need so many councillors? If so, for what purpose? As we anticipate a regional mayor, should we not have a much smaller council, reflecting its diminished responsibilities? I would not bet on it.