The 9th March Wirral Globe interview with the Labour leader of Wirral Council painted a wildly inaccurate picture of the recent budget process. Whilst all parties engaged constructively in discussions around budget savings, only two parties colluded together to manipulate the process for their own ends. These were the Labour and Conservatives who’s behind the scenes deal to prioritise Greasby Library (in the Tory leader’s ward) and Rock Ferry Library (in the Deputy Labour Leader’s ward) – at the expense of all the other libraries across Wirral – made a mockery of Cllr Williamson’s repeated claim that “we need to work together”. Your interview failed to mention this.
Neither did it mention that only one party – the Green Party – brought forward additional savings beyond those suggested by officers. These not only improved the council’s finances by reducing its energy consumption (and its carbon footprint) but would have restored the council’s budget to address the climate emergency. To watch Labour, again with support from the Conservatives, vote down our proposals and then claim public credit for the savings we identified demonstrates a total lack of respect and lack of leadership at a critical time for the council, the planet and for all those residents who rely on the services it provides.
And, of course, Cllr Williamson completely fails to acknowledge and apologise for the fundamental failures of the Labour Party in mismanaging the council’s finances when she and her colleagues had, until recently, majority control of the council.
In this budget, Cllr Williamson and the Labour Group have made a clear choice about who they wanted to work with to force through this budget. They deliberately chose to form an alliance with the Conservatives instead of working with those who should be their natural political allies.
The local elections in May offer Wirral residents an opportunity to cast their own verdict on this kind of leadership.