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  1. Published on: 17/07/2017 01:47 PMReported by: roving-eye
    John Pugh's campaign to get Southport out of Sefton has been labelled a "sham" and an attempt at "local gerrymandering" by critics of the plan.

    The former Liberal Democrat MP is the leading light of the scheme but it has been roundly condemned as a "low voltage proposal" by opponents who have dubbed it "Souxit".

    The Pugh plan is to split Sefton in two, creating two new authorities, one based in Southport, the other Bootle. He says it's needed because Southport's "distinctive voice" is not being heard.

    In response, local critics have asked if that's the case, what exactly are the town's 20 odd Lib-Dem and Tory councillors doing? They claim that if a problem exists it is more to do with the political games they indulge in rather than a fault of Sefton Council which has invested nearly 100m in the town.

    Southport's Lib-Dem councillors especially have a reputation for opposing Sefton proposals in the town, such as the multi-million-pound redevelopment of Southport Market, and channelled through them it's claimed that Southport's voice often adopts a rather carping tone with a vocabulary heavily reliant on just one word, "No!"

    Southport would be far more eloquently served by Labour councillors who can work in cooperation with the rest of their colleagues in Sefton for the good of the town, says Mhairi Doyle, Chair of the local Labour Party:

    "Labour councillors here would ensure that Southport's voice could be heard loud and clear and that when it was it would be a voice of progress, not hindrance. Next year's council elections will give the town an opportunity to start a conversation that will move it forward, not mire it in needless squabbling."

    She points out that what Southport's Lib-Dem and Conservative critics of Sefton fail to acknowledge is that it was their parties in government, firstly through coalition and then the Tories solely, that ordered a 51% cut in its budget and that over 200m of funds lost between 2010/11 and 2017/18 obviously then has a huge knock-on effect:

    "To order those cuts and then criticise the council is akin to severely hobbling a horse and then complaining that it's lame," says Ms Doyle, "Like a Dickensian street gang, proponents of Souxit want to cut 'em and run, making off into the night with their spoils."

    Critics of the plan also claim that creating a completely new authority at a time of reduced local government funding would be a double whammy that could see money withdrawn from other vital areas such as the NHS and would add over 25% to local council tax bills.

    They say that instead of being good for Southport a major motivation behind this is an attempt to create a local power base for the Liberal Democrat Party in the town which not only lost the constituency in last month's general election but was pushed all the way back into third place by Labour's resurgence. Mhairi Doyle is convinced:

    "Mr Pugh seems determined to become Southport's very own Nigel Farage but as far as I'm concerned it's a sham and little more than a very costly attempt at local gerrymandering. Souxiters basically want local council tax payers to fund their own naked political ambition."
       

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  3. said says:17/07/2017 02:08 PM
    So this is just another attempt from Labour to convince voters to vote for them ! They don't want Southport out of Sefton as it is a big money spinner for the Labour controlled Sefton council !!

  4. Ralphy Rylance says:17/07/2017 02:19 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    ! They don't want Southport out of Sefton as it is a big money spinner for the Labour controlled Sefton council !!
    Can you quantify the value of this big money spinner?
    You surely wouldn't make a statement without figures to back it up would you?

  5. Gwhizz says:17/07/2017 02:44 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    So this is just another attempt from Labour to convince voters to vote for them ! They don't want Southport out of Sefton as it is a big money spinner for the Labour controlled Sefton council !!
    BOTH Southport and Sefton/Bottle would suffer though, that's the point... smaller authorities basically mean smaller levels of investment but the costs of setting them up would mean big increases in council tax bills, especially for Southport as it would be starting from scratch... I suspect most folks don't want a 25% or more rise on their council tax bills just to fund what's basically a Lib-Dem hobby horse. There are all sorts of problems with the plan which is completely impractical.

  6. prasnee says:17/07/2017 04:08 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Gwhizz View Post
    ... just to fund what's basically a Lib-Dem hobby horse.
    If you check back you will find it's not just the Lib Dems who support Southport out of Sefton. The Southport Party, the Conservatives and UKIP have also supported it.

    In fact the only party which I know opposes it is the Labour Party. Any guesses as to why that might be?

  7. said says:17/07/2017 04:22 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by roving-eye View Post
    John Pugh's campaign to get Southport out of Sefton has been labelled a "sham" and an attempt at "local gerrymandering" by critics of the plan.

    The former Liberal Democrat MP is the leading light of the scheme but it has been roundly condemned as a "low voltage proposal" by opponents who have dubbed it "Souxit".

    The Pugh plan is to split Sefton in two, creating two new authorities, one based in Southport, the other Bootle. He says it's needed because Southport's "distinctive voice" is not being heard.

    In response, local critics have asked if that's the case, what exactly are the town's 20 odd Lib-Dem and Tory councillors doing? They claim that if a problem exists it is more to do with the political games they indulge in rather than a fault of Sefton Council which has invested nearly 100m in the town.

    Southport's Lib-Dem councillors especially have a reputation for opposing Sefton proposals in the town, such as the multi-million-pound redevelopment of Southport Market, and channelled through them it's claimed that Southport's voice often adopts a rather carping tone with a vocabulary heavily reliant on just one word, "No!"

    Southport would be far more eloquently served by Labour councillors who can work in cooperation with the rest of their colleagues in Sefton for the good of the town, says Mhairi Doyle, Chair of the local Labour Party:

    "Labour councillors here would ensure that Southport's voice could be heard loud and clear and that when it was it would be a voice of progress, not hindrance. Next year's council elections will give the town an opportunity to start a conversation that will move it forward, not mire it in needless squabbling."

    She points out that what Southport's Lib-Dem and Conservative critics of Sefton fail to acknowledge is that it was their parties in government, firstly through coalition and then the Tories solely, that ordered a 51% cut in its budget and that over 200m of funds lost between 2010/11 and 2017/18 obviously then has a huge knock-on effect:

    "To order those cuts and then criticise the council is akin to severely hobbling a horse and then complaining that it's lame," says Ms Doyle, "Like a Dickensian street gang, proponents of Souxit want to cut 'em and run, making off into the night with their spoils."

    Critics of the plan also claim that creating a completely new authority at a time of reduced local government funding would be a double whammy that could see money withdrawn from other vital areas such as the NHS and would add over 25% to local council tax bills.

    They say that instead of being good for Southport a major motivation behind this is an attempt to create a local power base for the Liberal Democrat Party in the town which not only lost the constituency in last month's general election but was pushed all the way back into third place by Labour's resurgence. Mhairi Doyle is convinced:

    "Mr Pugh seems determined to become Southport's very own Nigel Farage but as far as I'm concerned it's a sham and little more than a very costly attempt at local gerrymandering. Souxiters basically want local council tax payers to fund their own naked political ambition."

    So just who are these critics? It would appear that any criticism stems from the Labour Party who most certainly would not want to lose Southport's contribution to the major developments planned for Bootle! Most of the Southport residents want to come out of Sefton! For far too long we have waited for sensible attention to be paid to this important tourist town - the MAIN attraction in Sefton. Labour's contribution for a 'boutique' region similar to proposals for Bootle appeals to no-one! The region of Southport contains mostly Victorian buildings and architecture, and Victorian parks - it has a unique character that should be maintained - it needs to be individual to attract tourists! The Golf is one attraction that Southport is famous for and increases revenue for the town, the very unpopular parking charges raises more money - where does this all go to? The housing projects created in Southport has raised even more money It is not spent on Southport.
    Southport should be given priority! Maintain the resort as it was intended to be - Victorian. This individuality will attract tourists to the area. More tourists, more money for the local economy. More money, more jobs, more venues more attractions! The council and the councillors work for the people of Southport! It is not the other way around - Southport people demand that they should act in the best interests of the local people - Labour have so far failed to do that!

  8. Ralphy Rylance says:17/07/2017 04:27 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    So just who are these critics? It would appear that any criticism stems from the Labour Party who most certainly would not want to lose Southport's contribution to the major developments planned for Bootle! Most of the Southport residents want to come out of Sefton! For far too long we have waited for sensible attention to be paid to this important tourist town - the MAIN attraction in Sefton. Labour's contribution for a 'boutique' region similar to proposals for Bootle appeals to no-one! The region of Southport contains mostly Victorian buildings and architecture, and Victorian parks - it has a unique character that should be maintained - it needs to be individual to attract tourists! The Golf is one attraction that Southport is famous for and increases revenue for the town, the very unpopular parking charges raises more money - where does this all go to? The housing projects created in Southport has raised even more money It is not spent on Southport.
    Southport should be given priority! Maintain the resort as it was intended to be - Victorian. This individuality will attract tourists to the area. More tourists, more money for the local economy. More money, more jobs, more venues more attractions! The council and the councillors work for the people of Southport! It is not the other way around - Southport people demand that they should act in the best interests of the local people - Labour have so far failed to do that!
    Shall we knock down anything that isn't Victorian then? Start with the war memorial perhaps?

    What exactly is Southport's contribution to major developments planned for Bootle? How does that compare to Bootle's contribution to developments in Southport?
    How much money have housing projects in Southport raised for the council?

    Some facts to give your rant some credibility might help.

  9. said says:17/07/2017 04:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralphy Rylance View Post
    Can you quantify the value of this big money spinner?
    You surely wouldn't make a statement without figures to back it up would you?
    Ian Maher, Labour Councillor Quote on the Golf Tournament:
    "This really is an opportunity to put Sefton and the City Region in the global shop window with*millions of pounds*set to swell*the local and regional economy. Sefton?? Not Southport??

  10. Gwhizz says:17/07/2017 05:44 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by prasnee View Post
    If you check back you will find it's not just the Lib Dems who support Southport out of Sefton. The Southport Party, the Conservatives and UKIP have also supported it.

    In fact the only party which I know opposes it is the Labour Party. Any guesses as to why that might be?
    Firstly, it says "basically" so allowing for others but indicating that the prime mover is the Lib-Dems.
    Secondly, UKIP like it for same reason as Lib-Dems, it gives them a hope of not being wiped out if there's a big expansion of councillors & Southport Party didn't even stand in last election... so a collection of fading/faded forces all clutching at straws. The Tories have been quiet on Pugh's proposal... at a time of their slashing govt funding it would be rather odd of them to support a massive waste of cash in setting up yet another authority... mind, they do have a habit of finding money down the sofa if they think it suits them, as we've seen with the DUP.
    Thirdly, erm, it's pretty clear what Labour's concerns are... just read the article or you could have a look at the Southport Labour Party website, much bigger piece on it there.

  11. Gwhizz says:17/07/2017 05:50 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    So just who are these critics? It would appear that any criticism stems from the Labour Party who most certainly would not want to lose Southport's contribution to the major developments planned for Bootle! Most of the Southport residents want to come out of Sefton! For far too long we have waited for sensible attention to be paid to this important tourist town.... - Southport people demand that they should act in the best interests of the local people - Labour have so far failed to do that!
    ...but you don't live in Southport Marvin Arbiton, you live in Chester and are from Congleton.

  12. prasnee says:17/07/2017 07:15 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Gwhizz View Post
    Thirdly, erm, it's pretty clear what Labour's concerns are... just read the article or you could have a look at the Southport Labour Party website, much bigger piece on it there.
    I did read the Labour Party's website, but couldn't see any convincing reasons for their attitude.

    As you seem sympathetic to their viewpoint, perhaps you give a reason or two why you support retaining Sefton Council as it stands?

  13. ecclefechan says:17/07/2017 09:27 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by prasnee View Post
    If you check back you will find it's not just the Lib Dems who support Southport out of Sefton. The Southport Party, the Conservatives and UKIP have also supported it.

    In fact the only party which I know opposes it is the Labour Party. Any guesses as to why that might be?
    Yes, it's not a guess though. It's because they are the only ones who actually care about the effect a reorganisation of local authorities would have on services like adult social care and the huge council tax hike that ordinary working people would have to pay to support such a charade.
    Interesting that people in favour of this don't deny that it would be a very costly and disruptive undertaking.

  14. Ralphy Rylance says:17/07/2017 09:45 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by said
    ! They don't want Southport out of Sefton as it is a big money spinner for the Labour controlled Sefton council !!

    Quote Originally Posted by said View Post
    Ian Maher, Labour Councillor Quote on the Golf Tournament:
    "This really is an opportunity to put Sefton and the City Region in the global shop window with*millions of pounds*set to swell*the local and regional economy. Sefton?? Not Southport??
    A money spinner for the local economy is not necessarily a money spinner for the council.

  15. Gwhizz says:18/07/2017 12:07 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by prasnee View Post
    I did read the Labour Party's website, but couldn't see any convincing reasons for their attitude.

    As you seem sympathetic to their viewpoint, perhaps you give a reason or two why you support retaining Sefton Council as it stands?
    Firstly, let's be clear, supporting Sefton as it stands and opposing Pugh's plan are not one and the same. The distinction I'd make it that I'd prefer for Sefton to have the 200m plus that's been cut from it so that it could operate its services properly and I'd prefer some Labour councillors in Southport so that they could work in a spirit of cooperation not outright hostility with the rest of the colleagues in Sefton. That way Southport could have some progress, not just obstructive point scoring politics via its councillors.

    As to objections to Souxit, here ya go...

    1) The huge rise in local council tax bills if it went ahead.
    2)The diverting of hard pressed public funds to its unnecessary creation and away from say the NHS or schools or emergency services etc. etc.
    3) The rank hypocrisy of Souxiters supporting over 200m in cuts to Sefton and then complaining and using that whip up resentment and push for this.
    4) That it'd mean the end of free bus & rail Merseytravel for pensioners.
    5) That investment levels of the like of the near 100m Sefton has put into the town basically wouldn't be possible under a smaller authority.
    6) That Pugh's plan is designed not for the good of Southport but for the survival of the Lib-Dems.
    7) That increased costs of setting up a new body at a time of reduced govt funding and without the economies of scale the current set up provides re. continuing operation costs would mean even more pressure on services and a very likely further reduction in them.
    8) That it'd lead to a big increase in the number of local councillors, more unnecessary funding pouring away to provide what we already have.
    9) There's also issues around the govt's shift in funding for local authorities from central funding towards a system of funding using local business rates by 2020. Given the bulk of industry/business is not in Southport this would present it big problems if it went alone.
    10) Taking all that into consideration... quite simply it'd be a clustercoitus!

  16. Alikado says:18/07/2017 01:35 PM
    Forget all about it, it is never going to happen.
    Government Policy is to create larger Authorities run by Mayors, so even if you got out you would be run by a Mayor from County Hall in either Preston or Lancaster. West Lancs Highways, Education Libraries & Social Services are County run services.


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