Earlier today Phil Davies launched Wirral Labour’s local election campaign, accusing the Tories of ‘gambling with Wirral residents’ lives’.
In a major speech at Birkenhead’s Engineering College, Cllr Davies said:
“As a Labour Council, it is no secret that we face unprecedented financial challenges. Whilst we are charged with delivering vital frontline services local residents rely on, Ministers are relentlessly cutting every single aspect of our budget.
The choice for people at this election is very clear – a Tory Party obsessed with austerity, cuts to the budgets of Merseyside Police and Merseyside Fire and Rescue, falling numbers of nurses and doctors in our NHS, a crisis in teacher recruitment in our schools, and cuts to the local authority budgets which provide vital services to Wirral residents. Or a Labour Council that puts the needs of Wirral first every time, every day. A Labour Council which clears up the Tories’ mess time and time again, acting as the last line of defence for Wirral families and residents against these damaging Conservative cuts which are gambling with people’s lives.
This year, it is vital Wirral votes for a Labour Council to protect and support our community.
On May 3rd Wirral residents have the chance to send an unmistakable message to this government – Enough is Enough: Stop the Tory Cuts.
Since the Tories came to power in 2010, Wirral has been hit hard:
- Our Services have had their budget cut by £250million – vital funding for care services, road maintenance, protecting our environment and the quality of life we enjoy in Wirral
- Our Police Force has lost more than 1000 officers, while crime and anti-social behaviour go up
- Our Fire Service has lost 4 out of every 10 fire fighters, the number of fire engines and appliances have been severely slashed and we face the closure of local fire stations, meaning response times are stretched to get to residents in need across the borough.
And the impact of these cuts on our residents has been dramatic:
- Homelessness in the borough has risen by 27%, with 14 rough sleepers recorded last autumn. There were 11 back in 2016, and its 3.5 times higher than the four recorded in 2010
- Wirral Food bank opened in 2011 and last year gave more than 12,000 three-day emergency food supplies to local people in difficulty. 8,016 adults and 4,221 children were fed and supported
- And the number of children living in poverty has risen to 25%, with nearly 18% of primary school children in Wirral claimed free school meals in 2017 and 14% of secondary school children.
Growing up in poverty can have a major impact on health and well-being, not just in childhood, but in later life too. Childhood poverty can have a major impact on life chances over the long term. That’s why we invested £20m into children’s services at our last budget meeting.
But still the Tories press on with their plans for further austerity:
- New Plans to remove Free School Meals will leave 6,337 of Wirral’s poorest children to go hungry everyday, according to the Children’s Society
- Our doctors and nurses are struggling too. Cuts and Privatisation measures in the NHS mean hospital waiting times in Wirral are now amongst the worst in the country – with 1 in 3 people waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Arrowe Park
- Local health clinics and surgeries can’t deal with the demand, Wirral residents are left with the phone lottery of trying to get an appointment to see their GP.
But Wirral Labour is fighting back. Fighting to protect and improve the communities and neighbourhoods we call home. Fighting to protect the services Wirral residents rely on – care for our elderly, care for our young people and care for the most vulnerable in our borough.
And Wirral residents are fighting back too. Wirral Labour’s campaign to Save Eastham Walk-In Centre was successful because people told the Tories, ‘Enough is Enough’.
Wirral residents are also backing Labour and our work with the Police and Social Services to clampdown on Anti-Social Behaviour – making it easier for nuisance neighbours to be dealt with, forcing private Landlords to look after their properties, and fining people who litter, fly tip or let their dogs foul our pavements and parks. Whilst others are going soft on litter louts, I make no apologies for our tough stance.
Wirral residents are backing Labour and our work with the Metro Mayor to access funds to improve our roads and highways – In our latest budget we announced a further £7m+ to be invested in fixing pot holes and repairing street lamps across the borough as well as an additional £5m on making sure our parks are places Wirral can be proud of.
And Wirral Labour is partnering with businesses and investors to bring new homes, new jobs and new opportunities to residents from West Kirby to Wallasey, and Bebington to Birkenhead.
As I said at the beginning – the choice is clear for Wirral residents: ‘Pay More, Get Less’ under the Conservatives – or Vote Labour to protect the services and quality of life all Wirral residents deserve.
On May 3rd every Wirral resident who votes Labour can send a message to the Tories – Enough is Enough: Stop the Tory Cuts.”