Liverpool ‘hardest hit by council cuts’

LIVERPUDLIANS are more aware of council cuts than the residents of three other major cities – and are more likely to say cuts have had a negative impact on them, according to a new poll.

YouGov research for Power to Change, an independent charitable trust set up to support community businesses, found that nearly seven out of 10 people in Liverpool (69 per cent) are aware of financial cuts to council-run services since 2010.

This compares to 68 per cent in Birmingham, 63 per cent in Manchester and just 53 per cent in London. The national average was 60 per cent.

Liverpool has made budget cuts of £330m since 2010 and has seen its central government grant more than halved.

Some 83 per cent of Liverpudlians said cuts have had a negative effect on them. This compares with 82 per cent in Birmingham, 78 per cent in Manchester and 70 per cent in London. The average for England was 74 per cent.

People in Liverpool were also more likely to say that the sense of community wellbeing in their area has worsened since 2010 at 37 per cent, compared with 32 per cent in Birmingham, 31 per cent in Manchester and 30 per cent in London. 

Power to Change is launching a campaign to help communities take over the running of assets such as leisure centres, libraries and parks from their local councils.

Its analysis suggest English local authorities hold assets worth up to £7bn.

Richard Harries, director of the Power to Change Research Unit, said: “Continued austerity policies are being felt across England and evidently Liverpool is feeling it more than most.

“We make a mistake if we treat local communities as passive players in all this. Increasingly, people are stepping in to save the spaces and buildings that they love and running them for themselves, like the libraries and public  and brought back to life in Croxteth by Alt Valley.

"Even in tough times, these sorts of community businesses can transform places which are otherwise in danger of falling into disrepair.”