Monday, July 15, 2024

Ahead of Wednesday’s autumn statement – one of the UK government’s two annual ‘fiscal events’ where budgets are decided – Liverpool’s council leader, Liam Robinson, and his deputy, finance chief Ruth Bennett, told the nation’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt that without immediate help, the city’s local authority would have to slash more services.

Since 2010, the Conservatives have cut funding to Liverpool by £314million ($393m), a fall of 56 per cent based on what it used to get under Labour’s government, which ended in 2010. Robinson and Bennett reminded the chancellor that during the same period, prosperous areas of the country have had their funding reduced by just three per cent.

Their letter also suggested this policy was “unsustainable”, warning that a number of councils – not just Liverpool’s – “could effectively go bankrupt in the coming months”. Some, including Birmingham and Croydon, in south London, already have.

Since the mini-budget crash of 2022, inflation has cost Liverpool a further £77million in terms of what it can spend. This has affected education, social care and transport, and has exacerbated an already critical situation for homeless people.

Well, it means the city of Liverpool simply cannot afford for the construction of Everton’s new stadium – one of the biggest building projects in its history – to fail.

In a press release from Everton, the Premier League club suggested their new home at the city’s Bramley-Moore Dock was “recognised as the largest single-site private sector development in the country”.

The figures partly explain why other local politicians, such as metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and the MP for West Derby, Ian Byrne, have entered the conversation since the Premier League imposed Everton’s unprecedented 10-point deduction last week.

When the government’s fan-led review of the game was released in 2021, the white paper recognised that “English football is currently being endangered by the high and growing risk of financial failure among clubs across its top five tiers”. And the biggest cause of the problem was club owners, who acted “unilaterally, pursuing short-term interests with little accountability or scrutiny”.

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