October 27, 2010 - Bill Esterson's Westminster Diary

Bill Esterson

 

After an ongoing campaign to get the long-awaited Thornton Relief Road scheme back on track the government have finally agreed to give the go-ahead to the Thornton Relief Road.

 

The campaign highlighted the importance of this road on the infrastructure of Sefton and the economy of the North West. 


The parish councils worked tirelessly on the campaign, as did local residents and councillors throughout Sefton. I'd like to thank them, and the thousands of ordinary residents of Sefton Central who signed the petition for the scheme and who wrote to me urging me to carry on pushing the government to give the go-ahead.


The government say they will provide the money for the road to be built subject to a revised funding bid from Sefton Council and will know in January for definite.


The news that the Thornton Relief Road is to go ahead is fantastic and hopefully any changes will not cause further delay in a project which has been on the cards since the 1930s.


I would like once again to congratulate the parish councils and residents across Sefton who have worked for this to happen and look forward to final confirmation in January that the government has confirmed the funding. 

Thank you for your support and if you have any comments about this or any other matter, please write to me at 29 Liverpool Road North, Maghull, L31 7DG or email bill.esterson.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 0151 531 8433. 



But it's not all good news this week. As well as a long-awaited relief road announcement, the chancellor also announced the comprehensive spending review. As expected there are deep cuts across the public sector and thousands of jobs will go in Sefton in both the public and private sectors. 

Sefton Council itself has to find £53m worth of savings over the next four years. This will be devastating for jobs and services upon which we all rely.

And as well as cuts in police numbers, in funding for schools and for the health service, I have a number of concerns about how the cuts are being managed.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) made a number of comments last week and it is worth considering what they have to say. The IFS believe that the cuts are too soon for the economy to withstand and this week's figures show a big slowdown in the recovery because of the cuts already made. 

The IFS also say that the cuts hit the poorest hardest and have an especially big impact on children. When the Prime Minister says that we need to ensure that we don't leave a mess for our children and grandchildren to clear up, he is right. The trouble is that the cuts in health, education and housing will hit children now and make it much harder for them growing up, damaging their long term prospects. 

The cuts in child benefit, in child trust funds and in educational maintenance grants will hurt children now. Benefit cuts to move people off benefit and into work sound fine in theory but the reality that families with children will suffer and its the children who will feel the most pressure. The money being raised from cuts in services and benefits for children is more than that being raised from the tax on banks.

The deficit needs to be paid off, something that all parties agree on. My concern is that it's children who are being made to pay when they are the last group who are responsible for the deficit. In my view, we should be taking far more from the banks and far less from children.

Over the coming weeks, I shall be expressing that view to the chancellor and I hope that you will do the same.