No Concessions

Council Tax flyer 006


You may have read in the local papers about Wirral Council retiree Mike Garbutt railing against his “morally bankrupt” former employer for  asking him to return the gift of a lifetime gym pass because of council cuts.

Sadly it took  34 years of loyal service before Mr. Garbutt realised that the people who run Wirral Council are “morally bankrupt” and that unless you’re one of the gilded elite  you ain’t nothin’ but a (payroll) number.

Meanwhile some town hall drone admits that this may be  “disappointing for those people affected” oblivious to the fact that they’ll be next to be screwed over whilst rejoicing in the fact that such a callous move may make £500,000 worth of savings – hurrah! .However let’s face it these days half a million is a mere bagatelle  – the cost of a Town Hall executive love tryst.

There are other stories such as this – Mr. D told us  :

As part of the councils cuts to save money they are implementing the stopping of some free concessions. In 2009 I was given a long service award by the council for over 30 years service and out of the three choices I elected a life pass to the gyms.  As from April this has now been removed so in effect had my long service award removed with no offers of anything in it’s place.  I’m sure this may effect others across the borough.

Then there’s the case of a pensioner with severe mobility problems who being  50+  was able to buy a leisure passport every year for £5 that entitled him to swim free between 11am & 12 noon Monday to  Friday. He was recently told by the staff at West Kirby Concourse that from 1st April this facility will be withdrawn. From then on he will have to pay £4 every time he uses the pool. Apparently there are a number of people including this gentleman who need this exercise and depend on this therapy !.
We’re wondering whether it will only kick off  when the retired golfing chums of the Wirral council powerbrokers realise it will affect their use of the municipal golf courses.
Just to rub it in we’ve all just had our Council Tax bills through the door haven’t we ? – along with a glossy leaflet with those bloody 20 pledges pie charts . There on the “people” pie chart we have “older people live well” and on the environment pie chart we have “leisure and cultural opportunities for all” .
So how do Wirral council reconcile the rhetoric with these mean spirited and short -sighted measures we describe above ?. More importantly  how do they reconcile the banner headline  “Council Tax – where your money goes”  without reference to CEO Eric “Feeble” Robinson’s £35,000 value for money pay hike  or Martin Liptrot (sky) ‘s £45,000 political appointment or the millions spent on consultants or the countless amounts spent on cover ups and pay offs ? .
Strange  how money can always be found to make “our betters” lives a little bit easier isn’t it  ?- but can never be found for the “little people”  – you know the ones like you and me who pay the over-inflated wages of these so called public servants. The modern day mandarins on the make and on the take.
Consequently they’ll be “no concessions” at Leaky Towers when it comes to exposing the hypocrisy , the stupidity , the waste , the incompetence and the dishonesty  that still lies at the heart (if it had one) of Wirral Council .


At Your Leisure

Her Ladyship has always claimed psychic powers but last October we think she nailed it when she talked about how Wirral Council go about compiling their plans.She commented on the Wirral plan:  20/20  vision (aka Liptrot’s List) concocted by Wirral spin king Martin Liptrot-sky :
“…always struck us as typical Wirral Council arse about face planning by which we mean some consultant who’s never worked for the council before thinks up 20 pledges off the top of his head and the poor saps who work for the council then have to go away and make their departmental plans meet the pledges…”
And so it proves once again as we’ve been leaked a draft copy of Wirral Council’s Leisure Strategy – part of the Wirral Plan: 20/20 Vision .We know that Cllr Chris Meaden takes her leisure pursuits/public duties  very seriously  -often combining the two during unsociable hours.Now she enlisted the help enigmatic Super Duper Director  Clare ” Wet” Fish to compare fringes and host a  Chris ‘n’ Clare consultation event next week at Williamson Art Gallery (you know the one that was under threat of closure).

Quite rightly on page 14 of the draft strategy they ask : “How will we measure if we’re getting this right?”

Well first of all (like the 20/20 Vision Plan itself ) it seems it’s a case of pick something you’d like to improve and then try and find a way of measuring it – now we don’t know what the STEAM  report is – but this strategy seems full of it :

• Increase the number of residents who regularly use the boroughs parks and open spaces (Resident’s Survey).

• Increase the value of visitor spend in Wirral to £450 million (STEAM Report).

• Increase the number of visitors to Wirral by xx (STEAM Report).

• Increase the number of events in Wirral’s parks, beaches and open spaces (source TBC).

• Increase the number of national quality awards for Wirral’s parks, coastal sites and open spaces (Green Flag and Blue Flag awards)


The increase in visitor numbers to Wirral has yet to be decided , the measure of how the number of events in Wirral ‘s parks,beaches and open spaces is yet to be confirmed and a survey and an estimate are supposed to do the rest.The only definitive measurable outcome seems to be a case of putting out the Green and Blue flags – but will the ruling Labour group be happy about that?!.

How Wirral Council intend to meet these measures is equally vague and seems reliant on development of yet more plans and strategies.But this is what you get when you get a spin doctor calling the shots.

Plans and strategies are all very well and we wouldn’t be quite so critical (Ok we would) but this is a Council who can’t even get the basics right – like addressing the corrosive culture that still pervades everything they do.

Alternatively we’d like to suggest that a starting point would be  “Wirral Leaks Ten Commandments of Local Government” –

  1. Thou shalt not employ highly  paid consultants
  2. Thou shalt not have any more meaningless pre-determined consultations
  3. Thou shalt not make any more pay-offs for officer failure
  4. Thou shalt not organise more cover ups
  5. Thou shalt not look always look for exemptions to deny Freedom of Information requests
  6. Thou shalt not favour PR/spin over openness and transparency
  7. Thou shalt not favour nepotism over meritocracy ;and finally we couldn’t improve on these originals:
  8. Thou shalt not commit adultery (especially if it leads to pay-offs – see 3)
  9. Thou shalt not steal
  10. Thou shalt not bear false witness