Deadline to balance Council
THE deadline for residents in Liverpool
to have a say on where they think £90 million of Council savings should be made
over the next 3 years has been extended. The Liverpool Budget Simulator was
originally due to close on Friday, 16 December 2016, but will now remain open
until midnight, on Sunday, 18 December 2016, to give people more time to
So far, around 14,000 people have visited the Council’s
online budget simulator, but only 1,350
(less than 1 in 10) have managed to complete the process by outlining which
services they would protect and those which they would cut. Around 40% of
residents who have completed the simulator have indicated they would be in
favour of an increase of up to 10% in Council Tax, ringfenced to help protect
children’s and adults services for the most vulnerable. Currently, Government
rules mean that an increase above 3.99% would only happen if residents were to
vote in favour of it in a referendum.
The £90 million of savings over the next 3 years comes on top of £330 million of
cuts since 2010. In total, it means the local authority will have lost nearly
70% of its Whitehall money between 2010 and 2020, more than any other City in
Liverpool is more dependent on funding from the Government than other places
because almost 4 out of 5 properties are in Council Tax Bands A and B, greatly
reducing the City’s ability to raise its own money. Council Tax only
contributes 11% to Liverpool’s overall budget, leaving the City vulnerable to
the Government’s austerity programme as Whitehall provides 72% of the overall
funding for services. Over the last 3 years, Council departments have been asked
to make savings of between 25 and 50%. Closing the budget gap from 2017 to
2020 could mean taking another 10% from adults and children’s services which
support the most vulnerable, and cutting all other departments by a further 50%.
Mayor Joe Anderson said:- "Balancing the budget is no easy task given the
scale of the reductions we have faced since 2010, and this is reflected in the
fact that the vast majority of people who’ve tried the simulator aren’t able to
complete the task. The scale of the Government cuts that we have seen over the
last 6 years mean that we have nowhere to go and are left with little option
other than to cut into essential front line services. Our ability to meet the
challenge without reducing services is virtually non existent. I am heartened
that 40% of people who have used the simulator would be willing to support a 10%
increase in Council Tax which we would use solely to protect some of the
children’s and adults social care services from the worst of the cuts. However
it is too soon to make a decision over whether to go for a referendum, and we
will also have to look carefully at the detail contained in the Local Government
The budget simulator is open until midnight, on Sunday, 18 December 2016.
The Council will set its budget in March 2017.
Advice to both revellers and
shoppers in the run up to Christmas
AHEAD of 1 of the busiest weekends of
the year for our City and Town Centres across the county, Merseyside Police have
issued advice to ensure visitors to our nightlife and shops, remain safe during
the festive period. Thousands of visitors and residents are expected to
make the most of the county’s retail facilities, as well as the many bars, clubs
and pubs. Chief Superintendent Mark Wiggins said:- "Merseyside is a great
place to shop and socialise and we are expecting hundreds of thousands of people
to come to the area over the course of this weekend, making it 1 of the busiest
all year. We want people to come into Merseyside to enjoy themselves and get
home safely. We will be targeting the minority of people, intent on causing
misery over the Christmas period, whether that’s by stealing people’s belongings
or committing violent offences, but we also want people to take responsibility
for themselves. Our message to people is; take some simple steps; keep your bag
fastened and phones hidden, stay together and drink responsibly. We hope that by
taking some simple steps everyone can have a safe and happy Christmas."
Here are some simple steps people out socialising can take to ensure they stay
► Stay with your friends, stay in a group and look out for each other.
► Don’t accept drinks from strangers and don't leave your drink unattended, even
if it’s a soft drink.
► Drink sensibly; not only can drinking too much put you in vulnerable
situations but it can also lead some people to get involved in situations they
would not normally.
► Plan how you’re getting home before you go out. Pre-book your cab and stay
with your friends.
► If you’re parking in the City or Town Centres, park with care particularly at
night. Park in busy well lit areas and avoid parking in quiet side roads.
► If you’re shopping, don’t leave your presents or any valuable items in your
► While you’re out and about, keep your purse and phone hidden; keep your
handbags close to you, ensure they are fastened securely and kept closed at all
times to prevent easy access.
► Those carrying wallets are reminded to keep them out of sight and reach,
perhaps within an inside jacket pocket.
Ch Supt Wiggins added:- "I would like to reassure the public that there
will be an increased police presence in the City and town centres over this busy
time and if anyone has any concerns, they can always speak with an Officer on
the street or alternatively contact:- 101 or in an emergency always dial:- 999."
Results from the 2 week
crackdown on organised crime
CANNABIS farms with an estimated annual
yield of more than £5 million have been uncovered by Merseyside Police during a
2 week crackdown on organised crime. In a co-ordinated campaign, Officers from
across Liverpool, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Knowsley seized 1,278 plants and
dismantled 28 cannabis farms. A total of 18 people have been arrested in
connection with growing cannabis.
The 2 week crackdown aimed to damage organised crime networks by seizing drugs
they were growing to fund other criminal activities, such as buying Class A
drugs and firearms. During the fortnight, Officers on foot were assisted by the
Dog Section and the latest technology to help find cannabis farms in Merseyside.
Officers also visited:- DIY stores, garden centres and hydroponics outlets to
raise awareness of the types of purchases made by criminals looking to set up
cannabis farms, such as large quantities of compost and other growing equipment.
Police spoke with letting agencies and landlords, as many cannabis growers take
advantage of short term tenancy agreements to grow the drug.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Richardson said the results showed what could be
achieved when the public shared information with the Police about drugs in their
communities. He said:- "To have seized 1,278 plants bound for sale on the
streets of Merseyside and further afield, and shut down cannabis farms capable
of generating £5.1 million a year is a significant result for Merseyside Police.
More importantly, it is a fantastic result for our communities where the
criminals who set up these farms cause considerable misery. This is £5 million
that will not be lining criminals' pockets, will not make them richer and will
not help them commit more crime. Cannabis is an extremely damaging but
profitable drug and the existence of cannabis farms in our communities has led
to violence on our streets between rival gangs. Thanks to the public's help we
have uncovered 28 farms and arrested 18 people and in doing so, disrupted the
criminal activities of drugs gangs."
During the campaign, cannabis cultivations from smaller simple set ups to large
sophisticated farms were discovered and dismantled. 1 of the largest was a 540
plant cannabis farm at a property, located in Walton Village, that was found on
22 November 2016, with an estimated annual yield of £2.1m. Another farm, in Old
Swan, yielded 350 plants on 23 November 2016.
Other farms include:-
► 84 plants at a cannabis farm found in Wavertree, on 24 November 2016. A 43
year old man from Whiston was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis
► 70 plants found in Toxteth, on 24 November 2016.
► 200 plants found in Wavertree, on 24 November 2016.
► 300 plants found in Wavertree, on 25 November 2016.
► 20 plants found in Argyle Street South, on 30 November 2016. A 28 year old man
from Tranmere was arrested on suspicion of cultivation of cannabis, abstraction
of electricity and possession of class A drugs. He has been released pending a
► 81 plants found in Kensington, on 30 November 2016. A 55 year old man from
Kensington was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis, possession of
cannabis, possession with intent to supply cocaine, abstraction of electricity
and burglary. He has been released pending a disposal decision.
► 50 plants found in Prenton, on 1 December 2016. A 36 year old man, from
Birkenhead, was arrested on suspicion of cannabis production and abstracting
► 100 plants found in Halewood, on 1 December 2016, alongside a large quantity
of cash. A 54 year old man from Halewood was arrested on suspicion of production
of cannabis and abstract electricity.
The cannabis farms were uncovered by Officers from local neighbourhood support
teams and the majority of the 28 farms were then dismantled by the force's
specialist cannabis dismantling team (CDT).
Other items seized from properties include shotgun cartridges, Class A drugs and
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Richardson added:- "The range in size and
scale of some of these farms has been vast and it is clear that they have been
set up by people who are highly organised and know what they are doing. Many of
the larger set ups have been very sophisticated, with expensive lighting and
irrigation systems to replicate the hot, humid conditions these plants need to
grow. That equipment requires a lot of electricity, and we commonly find
overloaded plug sockets posing a very real fire risk, and that electricity has
been bypassed so these criminals avoid paying electricity bills. Officers and
support staff have worked tirelessly to achieve these excellent results often in
difficult conditions and it has been reassuring to have so much support from the
public who have given us the information we need. I am sure these results will
show the people of Merseyside just what we can achieve when we work together to
stop drug dealing and drug supply blighting our communities."