We are about to face one of the toughest weeks in the history of Liverpool City Council – a week that no one has been looking forward to.
Tomorrow will see me pass a budget which will include the most devastating cuts Liverpool has ever had to face. It is an extremely difficult and sensitive time for the people of this city and I completely understand their anger and upset.
As a city we are facing its most difficult period in our long history. £156m of cuts, on top of the £176m cuts that we’ve already suffered means that in total Liverpool is seeing a 58% reduction in government grants.
I did not become Mayor to have to implement such devastating cuts and believe me when I say, I get absolutely no pleasure from this process at all.
I did however become Mayor to lead this city and to act on behalf of its people. I became Mayor to make the hard decisions, the right decisions at the right time and to take this city forward – and that is what I am going to do.
From the moment the cuts were announced, I have tried to make my voice heard. I have made my opinion known and I have appealed to the government to come to see us and to fairly assess us. Despite my best efforts, the government simply won’t listen. It is now clear that we are in this on our own. We have been dealt our cards and it is up to us to arrange them in whatever way we can.
It is up to me as Mayor and all of the city’s councillors, regardless of political affiliation, to work together in order to get us through what is going to be a very challenging time.
But let me be absolutely clear – those challenges will be overcome.
If we grasp opportunities and begin to think differently, breaking down old ways of thinking and becoming more entrepreneurial, then we will put ourselves in the driving seat and we will be the creators of our own destiny.
There is one thing that this government cannot ignore and that is the fact that Liverpool today is a thriving City. Liverpool is a confident and exciting place to be, a place buzzing with about its future.
We are a city that is building. We are a city that is investing. We are a city that is putting its bad days behind and moving forward in a way that only we can do. Liverpool is well and truly a city on the up and we are standing up for ourselves, despite what the government throw at us.
I am incredibly proud to be Mayor of Liverpool and I will continue to do everything I can for the city and its people.
There is no doubt in my mind that the best days lay ahead. These cuts will not knock us down. Liverpool will continue to grow and continue to be the envy of the world.
No other city has what we have. Together we stand side by side and together we will move forward to regain our place as the best city in the world.