Sefton Labour leader: Lib Dems prove they are out of their depth

Peter Dowd

 

Sefton Labour Party says the Liberal Democrats will sink below the waves faster than Antony Gormley's Iron Men after proving the party's figures for the upkeep of the popular artwork were as rusty as its members.

Last week the local Lib Dems accused Sefton Council of wasting money on the upkeep of the statues which they believed were costing £250,000 a year.

But instead of spending money on the statues, Sefton Council has directly gained following a donation from the artist himself for the upkeep.

Mr Gormley was so delighted that Sefton was to be the permanent home for the Iron Men, he donated £205,000 for any maintenance work that was required.

So far, Sefton Council has spent just £64,000 of that money directly on the statues, using the other £141,000 to subsidise other council services which are under threat from the Tory-Lib Dem cuts.

Sefton Labour Group leader Cllr Peter Dowd said the Lib Dems in Sefton are clearly out of their depth.

Cllr Dowd said: "The Lib Dems clearly don't know the full facts about what we have gained as a direct result of having the Gormley statues here in Sefton.

"Antony Gormley gave a direct donation to the council for the upkeep of the statues, just a portion of which we have used on the statues themselves.

"This means that we were able to ward off the slash and burn Tories and Lib Dems from cutting even more services and jobs because we've benefited to the tune of £141,000 because of the generosity of Mr Gormley.

"This is money which has been used to safeguard some of the vital services and posts which the Tories and Lib Dems would have slashed.

"The Lib Dems need to be more aware of the figures before they go suggesting cutting even more services here in Sefton."

Cllr Dowd said as well as gaining directly from the donation from Antony Gormley, Sefton's economy has been boosted by the presence of the popular attraction.

Cllr Dowd said: "The Iron Men have become an iconic attraction for the whole of the North West and we are gaining from the fact that they are right here in Crosby.

"The Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives have both called for the statues to be removed, despite the fact we have gained financially having them here. Sefton Tourism Department recognise that the attraction is bringing in thousands of people each year which in turn boosts local businesses.

"Research has shown that since their installation, the presence of the statues has brought in an additional £6m into the Sefton economy.

"It is a shame the Tory-Lib Dem partners can't see that.

"After reading the Lib Dem's ill-informed comments last week on this subject, it would appear that their 'activists' have been out of the council chamber for so long, they have gotten as rusty as the Iron Men."