[This is an updated press release on a story that didn't quite make it into the local media yesterday]
Three months have passed since the Mayor declared that he was willing to take a “brave” decision over cutting the number of Liverpool councillors . In answer to a question put by Green Deputy Leader John Coyne at Mayoral Scrutiny Committee yesterday, the Mayor backed away from that stance, saying that if the Boundary Commission were to recommend a reduction he would lobby to keep 90 Liverpool councillors.
Cllr Coyne said:
“On the 13th March a Green Party motion called for an agreement in principle that we should cut the number of councillors from 90 to 60 or fewer and should move to 4-yearly all-up elections from next year. Labour amended this in favour of an "Independent Commission" to look at the issue.”
"The Mayor put out his own press release indicating that he was willing to be "brave” - a statement widely interpreted as him stating an intention to cut the number of councillors. The Mayor's press release occurred within days of him seeing the text of the Green Party motion on this subject - a link he denied in that Council meeting."
A reduction in the number of councils would bring Liverpool more into line with cities like Bristol (70 councillors) and Edinburgh (just 58). It would save over £300,000 annually, money that the Greens say should be used to protect frontline services.
Cllr Sarah Jennings, Green group leader, added:
"We've just seen George Osbourne declare that a further 10% of local government cuts will be forced onto local government. We desperately need to find ways to protect local services. If we were to also switch to elections every four years we could make further savings, so the Mayor’s decision to campaign for no change is disappointing."
"I think people in Liverpool will agree with us that a cut in the number of councillors after the imposition of the Mayoral system makes sense. The Mayor wields much of the power that councillors once had, so why do we continue to need so many?"
Notes for Editors