October 16, 2012

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The government is cutting the grants to local government by unprecedented amounts.

The so-called ‘austerity’ means that Sefton Council faces a total budget cut of around £107 million. 

 
The police and fire services also face massive cuts in their budgets and the top-down re-organisation of the NHS means that billions spent on breaking up the NHS have been cut from patient care. In fact 5,000 nurses have lost their jobs in the health service such is the scale of the cuts. 
 
Six-hundred police officers are due to go from Merseyside police and it is clear that Sefton Council is being forced to cut services including closing libraries. 
 
Formby Library seems to be safe for now and that makes sense given it is one of the best used libraries in Sefton. But others have not been so fortunate including those who rely on the library in Aintree. 
 
It is clear to me that it is the government which is responsible for any library closures. However, this government will be in power for another two and a bit years. 
 
The Conservatives and their Lib Dem accomplices have made clear that they are not going to reverse the cuts to library closures, to police numbers or to the fire service. All of which means that local communities are going to have to do more for themselves. 
 
I will be working with parish councils and other community groups across my constituency. Yes to fight the cuts but also to try to find ways of keeping services like libraries going even if they are not run by the council in the way they are now.
 

I have met a number of the Hillsborough families including four who live in Sefton Central. The report of the independent panel will be debated in parliament on October 22 and I will ask if I can speak in that debate as I have done twice in the past year in similar debates.
 
The families have all told me that the want the High Court to overturn the inquest verdicts. New inquests can then be held and verdicts can be given which reflect what happened on April 15 1989 in Sheffield. 
 
The families also want those responsible to be prosecuted. Both those who caused the 96 deaths and also those who covered up the deaths. 
 
My colleague Maria Eagle has called for Norman Bettison to be investigated. The families tell me that they want Bettison to be prosecuted for his role in the cover up as head of the liaison unit. It is important the pressure is kept on the Attorney General to make sure that Hillsborough is given the highest priority. 
 
The families have waited 23 years. They should not have to wait any longer than is absolutely necessary to hear official recognition of what happened to their loved ones with new inquest verdicts. 
 
And the announcement of full inquiries into all police officers involved is also a vital part of bringing to account those who contributed to the injustice that has lasted for 23 years.

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