Five of the six political parties who are contesting elections in Southport have put forward their position on the Southport/Sefton issue and all five of them are different.
Southport Labour Party are the simplest. They tend to agree with anything that the Bootle Labour Party, who presently rule us, say which means leaving things exactly as they are. This places Southport under the executive control of a Sefton ‘Cabinet’ of seven councillors whose wards are all within the Bootle constituency. Labour nationally also wants to put Southport under a directly elected Liverpool City Region Mayor.
Southport Liberal Democrats want Sefton MBC to be split into two separate Metropolitan Boroughs. Each Borough would retain exactly the same arrangements with Police, Fire, Waste Disposal and Transport authorities as Sefton MBC does now. Having this means that the present pensioners’ bus pass remains safe for both Southport and Bootle residents, as has been confirmed in writing by the Chief Executive of Merseytravel. Lib Dems are against having any Liverpool-based Mayor rule Southport.
Southport Conservative candidate Damien Moore has put forward the idea of Southport putting itself under the control of a ‘unitary’ Lancashire, based in Preston. This would be trading rule by one set of people in a town 20 miles away to rule by another set of people in a City twenty miles away. It is not clear how this squares with the national Conservative policy of putting Southport under a Liverpool City Region Mayor. The ‘Lancashire’ of this proposed unitary authority would exclude a number of major parts of the historic Lancashire as they have already seceded and created their own authorities.
The Southport Party has suggested putting the town into a ‘Unitary Authority’ in Lancashire. This would take Southport out of the present Fire, Police, Waste and transport authorities. The pensioners’ bus pass, they say, could be negotiated with the other Merseyside Authorities. The question is, what would be the price that Merseyside would demand for this? The Southport Party are against the town coming under a City Region Mayor.
UKIP’s position is perhaps the most controversial. As they say on their leaflets, the Town Council which they think Southport should have would leave the town both under Sefton rule and within the Liverpool City Region. It would also bring significant costs as it would be an even bigger town council than Maghull presently has, which costs the average household there over £90 extra on their Council Tax each year. The option of a town council was put to Southport residents a few years back in a formal referendum and was decisively rejected.
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