New brakes being put on Labour’s Council gravy train
Fresh signs that the Labour Party’s gravy train in local government in Merseyside may be being shunted into a siding have emerged from today’s Sefton MBC Cabinet meeting and are welcomed by local Liberal Democrats.
Persisitent pressure by Lib Dem councillors across Merseyside has finally secured a reduction in the monstrous pay of Sefton Councillor Mark Dowd who, as chair of Merseytravel, had been receiving twice the pay of any other councillor in the Region and amassed him roughly £1million during his 20 year office. Last month, public concerns about Cllr Dowd’s personal conduct (using the Merseytravel credit card to ‘bank’ his holiday expenditure in America and for other personal items) and his profligacy with public money led to him being dumped as Transport Authority Chair, following a huge file of complaints being sent to the District Auditor.
 The Luxury new chairman’s office at Mann Island (left) will never more be seen by Bootle Labour councillor Mark Dowd (right), who has resigned to avoid being kicked out of office as Merseytravel Chair
Lib Dems in Sefton are now claiming another partial victory, after Cllr Dowd’s brother Peter, who is the Labour Leader of Sefton Council, today backed off from endorsing a proposal to give 67 per cent pay rises to several Labour councillors, after previously declining to commit himself on the issue. At today’s Sefton Cabinet meeting, Cllr Dowd did not support the proposals being put forward to pad the pockets of his Labour colleagues. Lib Dems have been pressing for months for a reduction in Sefton Cabinet members’ pay but are reporting this ‘freeze’ (which will go to the next full Council) as a partial victory.  The increase in payment being proposed was even less appropriate because some of the councillors being put forward for the monster pay rises were busy cancelling their committee meetings for months due to ‘lack of business’.
There are still outstanding issues concerning Labour councillor’s padding their own lifestyle while ordinary people are tightening their belts.  Labour councillors on the Merseyside Fire Authority have persisted in justifying first class travel for themselves (which virtually all councils have stopped)  while cutting back on dozens of firefighters.  And Labour MPs and former MPs led by Liverpool’s own former deputy PM John Prescott have been queuing up across the country to slot themselves in as highly-paid ‘Police Commissioners’ from November onwards.
Southport Lib Dem chair, Councillor Tony Dawson says:
“It was outrageous that this increase was put forward for Overview & Scrutiny Committee Chairs at a time when these same Chairs were telling us there are fewer and fewer resources to support the scrutiny process and Labour were proposing that these committees should do less and less work.”
“The Bootle Labour bosses seem to be confusing the mandate of their election victory, which is valid, with an excuse for creating a one-Party state, which is not. We have only just kicked the disgraceful Dowd regime out of Merseytravel and we do not want anything similar being brought into Sefton Council.”
“Democracy requires appropriate support for opposition as well as for government and we need to see a more balanced approach, hopefully before the invitations start flowing for town-twinning with North Korea.”