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Councillors' wage bill to top £1.25m

Larry Neild exclusively reveals a pay rise is on the cards at Liverpool Town Hall

Published on May 18th 2009.


Councillors' wage bill to top £1.25m

THE “wage” bill for Liverpool’s city councillors is set to top £1.25m in the coming year.

Each of the 90 city councillors in Liverpool will be paid a basic allowance of £10,077, just under £907,000 in total, if they back a pay rise at Tuesday’s annual meeting.

And “special responsibility” allowances, on top of that, will be paid to councillors doing the top jobs.

Highest paid, as you would expect, is Council Leader Warren Bradley, who will receive £21,049 (currently £20,636) on top of the basic £10,077. Each of his cabinet members, or executive members, will receive an extra £14,032 (currently £13,757).

The allowances paid to Liverpool’s councillors, though, are modest compared to money handed to those in some other areas.

There’s no way of topping up the cash by claiming for tins of pet food or a new plug for the sink. And, as Liverpool City Council no longer owns Speke Hall, there’ll be nobody claiming for the old moat to be cleaned.

The deciding factor to determine whether a politician is good value for money is this - what will your constituents think of the money we are paying you?

Some politicians - nationally and locally - see it as unbecoming to have their allowances discussed in public, just as many people want to keep their own pay levels secret.

But in public life, the money is coming from tax payers who have the right to crawl all over the books to see who is getting what, and why.

There has to be a package of pay and allowances for people taking an active role in public life. The days when the landed gentry and those of substantial private means dominated the decision making processes are over. Thankfully.

There was a time when even MPs were unpaid, leading to the Commons being crammed with the rich. It was years before a proper system was introduced to reward local councillors.

It’s not uncommon for council leaders to work virtually full time, though, in Liverpool’s case, the current leader is a full-time firefighter and his predecessor, Mike Storey, is a headteacher.

It will be for the electorate to determine whether councillors, collectively or individually, are worth what is paid to them from the coffers of the City Treasury.

The £31,000 paid to Warren Bradley as Leader is small compared to the vast sums paid to the most senior officers, around £200,000 a year in the case of the chief executive.

Isn’t it time for a council leader to be paid a proper wage for the job to ensure he or she can perform the duty on a full-time basis? Maybe we need some of the executive members to be full time as well.

At a time of recession, rising unemployment and escalating costs for essentials, the amount we pay to those who represent us in the council chamber or the House of Commons is a massive talking point.

I don’t think the lolly thrown at local councillors would entice me to join their ranks.

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142 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Ann AllistMay 18th 2009.

A little too early I suspect "Dig" The utilisation of Catherines initial comments about the quality of debate being "piss poor" was her insult not mine. The irony being that the debate between her and Josh has been characterised by her simply contradicting everything he says and contradicting herself, failing to provide the One Fact he requested. When shown that the claims of the new golden age for which we should praise God and the Council are on very thin ice the response is insults or churlishness. For somebody who criticised the usual level of debate, they should look at how their own contribution has enriched the site. Why so desperate to convince Josh, perhaps more trying to convince herself methinks. Apologies if I offended your sensitivities.

joshMay 18th 2009.

True, but Dig do you think its justified that councillors should get more whislt we are in these tough times? Do you reckon we get value for money, since we pay the highest in the North West? And whislt we are in these tough times, do you think the council should be helping and supporting local businesses?

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, first you said Liverpool One was charging "excessive rates from day one". Now you concede that they are offering rent free periods. Make up your mind! Selfridges already has two of its four stores in the north west so it was always highly unlikely they would open a third. As for the traders at St John's, it's no different to anywhere else being upgraded. Traders at shopping centres across the country have to endure the same. If it brings more customers in they will benefit in the long term. What are you suggesting as the alternative - leave it as it is? I despair at the way every improvement in this city has to be a battle.

Hugh TopianMay 18th 2009.

Yet again to try and strengthen her blinkered case the charming Catherine has to employ personal abuse in her responses. Survival of the fittest as well. I think that answers the question about how the council is helping local business. Very interesting. You are certainly winning me over to your points of view. The old chip on the shoulder line though, that is very weak. have you checked that it is not actually 2 chips on his shoulder but instead 5llbs of King Edwards up your Argos? But I knew she had completely lost it when she quoted Dig to back her up. No offence Dig mate!

Scrutiny on the BountyMay 18th 2009.

Don't forget an Independent Report recommended the scrapping of Assistant Executive members who get £6,476 a year for doing nothing that could be usefully identified by the audit. The council leader personally overruled this and insisted that his friends continue to get this free handout from the council taxpayer. It would be nice to see a breakdown of their duties and attendance in the absence of the exec member.

Ann AllistMay 18th 2009.

Just a reminder of the first entry in this enlightened series of rants- Catherine says..“ A fair piece by Larry, followed by the usual piss poor debate from contributors to this website! Quite right give it a rest Catherine, you are starting to sound like an obsessed nutcase.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

I think this heat is getting to you Josh - calm down dear, you'll burst a blood vessel!

Angry of AigburthMay 18th 2009.

Have they ever had anything good on? It just seems to be ye olde poppe groupes topping up their old age pensions.

Liverpool NunMay 18th 2009.

OK we've got a Debenhams and an Austin Reed - BIG DEAL. We had TWO Austin Reeds (and about five big department stores) under the Militant Council in the late eighties and times are supposed to be better now!Basically there's little in Liverpool One to attract me, even John Lewis which is no longer the chatty, friendly, comfortable department store it was on Church Street where you could always get what you wanted. It has a much narrower range of goods and customers are directed long distances to pay for anything!Charmless and unpleasant. Liverpool One also boasts a branch of Waterstones that has so few books for sale you might think it a mug shop and drop-in centre.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Jesus, have you not taken a trip down "The Strand" lately, or what about renshaw street, bloody hell, save it. My point was, it you did overstay, which could happen, you would be charged £10 more on your parking ticket than Manchester’s, why? - and their Pay and Display is cheaper as well. Very poor comments Catherine, and I see you avoided answering the points I made about other local councils "council tax rates" And as for parking when going to the shops in Manchester, like I said, go to the Trafford Centre, they have everything our WHOLE city centre has and more, and spend the whole day there, and it will cost you nothing! Don't give me that rubbish about fuel, my point is, if you live their - you pay less council tax, less parking charges, and you can park/shop for free! now you tell me the difference when living in Liverpool? (and that's just Manchester, shall I point out the differences with, Knowsley, St Helens or even Sefton - We make our local fat councillors, get fatter and richer!) Our council is a absolute rip off. Don't pay them anything more than they deserve (nought) because they are already making a small fortune on just our parking fees.

AnonymousMay 18th 2009.

Definitely executive board then

AnonymousMay 18th 2009.

It's Maghull Developments now, isn't it? Or is it Iliad? We'll never get our good building back once these cowboys have demolished them all with Council blessing.

joshMay 18th 2009.

Cathering that's a load of bull, I know most of the restaurant and bar owners in the Albert Dock two of whom have gone into administration this year, whilst the arena might have boosted their sales on event days what about the other 80% go down then and you wull see the tumble weeds as for Liverpool one go down after the shops close and have a look at the restaurants then. My point is that it was not the councils doing bringing these centres and it wasn't the councils money. And as for the Trafford Centre again my point is if you live in Manchester its free, and like all their parking free or cheaper than Liverpool, if you live in Liverpool your goosed cos you got to fork out £2 an hour to park at Liverpool One and if you park in town you will only end up getting a ticket for being 5 mins late. And as for the typical scouser and or why most peolple don't vote is the same reasons why the council and the goverment spend millions of punds per year of our tax money telling us to vote, but the problem is the majority of us have no faith in the system. It makes know different who is in power it will never change, or are you saying that if I was elected tomorrow as the new leader of Liverpool Council I could make a difference to people, by investing money not just in the city centre but outside the centre, or reduce parking to encourage more people to come to the city, or give some money back to businesses who have invested heavily in the city, I think not, I would just be another mupet being pulled by strings, becasue the council can't reduce their income becuase they won't have enought for their riches.

Ron's WagesMay 18th 2009.

In K nowsley where I work the leader Ronnie Rounds has just been given a pay rise of over £900. He'll be picking up £34,952 this year, compared to £34,017 in 2008. Mind you that's only £2,900 a month - not much for running Kirkby and its environs.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

I am sorry Catherine but again you have missed the point, just because I have ranted about the council’s efforts dosnt mean I am not a proud scouser. I am proud I of our heritage, and I am proud of being a scouser. But that doesn’t mean I have to like Liverpool City Council! – Your facts are wrong, and obviously you work for an council funded project, Mersey Partnerships, BID, North West Development Agency or so on, and with this, you are blind to the real problems our city is facing. I know Joe Edge at the Albert Dock, I know him very well, and to people of you, he must beef up his facts to make it look like he has done a better job than what he did over at Clayton Square (where he previously held Directorship) – like I have already stated, yes the restaurants and bar have been given a boost but ONLY when there is something going on at the Arena. Do you think that would be sufficient enough to cover the £100,000 rents and £30,000 rates??? – and maybe the Arena did hold the MTV awards, but don’t give me that speel about the council encouraging that win. Really is the Arena generating a profit? Open the books! I bet you not! – yes we have had some good events there but again is it really reaching its maximum potential?. Now back to Liverpool One – I guess you have really not understood the facts – are shops bustling with consumers – NO, but is the council helping them with their rates – NO, and since the council has to much to do with it, has Liverpool One really been a success story – NO, I work just meters away from Liverpool One, and let me tell you, it is not what it should be, by far we are miles away from our peers! Yes maybe we have foundations, but we can’t look into the future, we can’t guess are way out of this mess, we need REAL HELP, NOW!!!! – Why is it Catherine that you have tried so hard to support the councils work in this rant, but you have failed, and failed miserably to provide me and the rest of the readers just ONE fact where the council is providing REAL HELP to businesses and individuals in these tough times, please just one solid fact…..?

Gerry MandarinMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, to become a Councillor it is necessary to be accepted and put up by an established political party. We'd get our windows smashed and tyres slashed.They don't want people like us going in and rocking the boat for them.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Don't mind freedom of speech "anonymous" (oh, the irony!)when it is backed up by facts rather than the sheer ridiculous rants that I see on here. Am I not entitled to a view as well? Josh, the arena is on course to make a profit, but even if it wasn't that would make it no different to many others and there is a strong argument for it being subsidised because of the wider economic benefits. I am looking at the what's on guide for the arena and convention centre and there's something on virtually every day in June and July. Which surely means there's a boost to the Albert Dock every day? The way you present it, it sounds like there's nothing happening there most of the time. PS: I was in Liverpool One yesterday and it was absolutely packed to the rafters, and so was Church Street and Lord Street. Everywhere I looked people were carrying bags with purchases and the coffee places were doing a roaring trade. What credit crunch? I think you need to get down to the optician pdq Josh, and don't do any driving until you've had an eye test either.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

A fair piece by Larry, followed by the usual piss poor debate from contributors to this website! I'd like to know how many of you would be willing to give up the countless hours that most councillors do to represent local residents. If it is that much of a doss for the dosh why aren't you all queuing up to stand for council? Or is it because it's easier to stand on the sidelines and carp rather than having the bottle to try and do something to improve the city...

The Man on the Garston OmnibusMay 18th 2009.

Actually as Deputy Leader Storey gets £26,061 on top of his fat salary then.

Order! ORDER!May 18th 2009.

Catherine says: "More misinformation Josh! The government does not set business rates - the GOVERNMENT does."Make yer mind up "Catherine" girl (when you've calmed yourself down.) Pisspoor! Bloody pispoor debater this.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

PH Dee, regardless of City of Culture the venue still had to compete with many others to secure the events so they DO count. If they wouldn't have been able to stage them successfully they wouldn't have got them. MTV won't have been swayed by City of Culture, they can go to anywhere in the world. The pathetic level of debate and snidy sneering remarks on this site defies belief. I thought scousers were supposed to be immensely proud of their city? The Voice of Liverpool - yer havin a laff.

joshMay 18th 2009.

I think any increase to councillors payments are unjustifiable as to any expenses payments they are receiving and or MP's. Liverpool businesses are struggling with the economic downfall especially restaurants and bars, however the council have increased business rates. Why should we pay more for less! In the current economic downturn councils should be helping business with their rates by means of concessions instead of piling increasing rates and more taxing to fund their increases. The council and the government have done nothing to help businesses this year and neither will they. Councillors should get by, by the same means as we all have to this year, not pay them these ridiculous benefits. If they are already working full time how much work are they actually doing for us? Which job do they sacrifice first their paid job or us? Its just another fine mess this country is in!

Mrs Hewitt can you do 2 comments?May 18th 2009.

And i do wish some of the young people would just take that gum out of their mouths. This wasn't really a gum chewing country until the Americans came over. I'm not anti american in anyway, I never missed McMillan and Wife, but all that "Want some gum chum?" started to lower standards I'm afraid. They should make the Yank tourist scrape up the chewy of Church Street.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, the arena's only hosted the MTV Awards and the BBC Sports Personality of the Years awards. Such small scale events aren't they? Are you telling me the NEC, MEN and O2 would turn their nose up at these events? Of course not, they would have given anything to host them. And wasn't the arena named best UK conference venue by CONFEX which is made up of industry types? I can't speak for your small independent mates who couldn't afford to get into Liverpool One, but if you want to be in a central location in a big city it costs money. Liverpool One has raised the bar because of its quality. The old days of accepting anything and everything in the retail heart are gone, sorry but that's the way of the world...and the way it works in every other city. As for the Albert Dock, your view isn't shared by the man who runs it, Joe Edge. Only a few short months ago was he boasting that trade was up 30%. Here's what he said: "We now feel part of the whole city centre package whereas before there was a sense of isolation down here. The launch of Liverpool One and opening of the arena and convention centre has been major pluses and have dramatically increased business tourism. In the future we also have the canal link opening and museum so it is all looking extremely positive for the future."

joshMay 18th 2009.

Sorry Cathering, but if a business is as good as you have described the arena well yes profits should be made. I made profits in my first year and my second and my third but we on course for a loss this year due to the reccesion, in years 1 2 and 3 we paid lower business rates than this year!!! So since you keep going over old ground why is it you have failed to provide me with one fact where the council are helping businesses and individuals in these tough times ???

DigMay 18th 2009.

Still, reads well doesn't it? Anyway it says the ICCA are the industry bibles. It's not like The Post to lie or exaggerate, is it?

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Firstly, Catherine, Walk from Liverpool One straight up to Hardam Street, tell me how many shops are empty. Then, take a stroll around the other parts of the City and you will see a lot of empty shops. Then get out and speak with the businessmen and women themselves and you will see what it happening, its easy for someone who is representing the Tourist Board, Council, Albert Dock, Liverpool One and so on to say how great they are doing, but are they really NOPE take a look at the public accounts and you will see, its not long before they all go into administration then the people who front them simply say I am resigning, but I have done a wonderful job! I am sorry Catherine, but our council is not worth its weight in gold, nor are the councillors running it. I see you always defend them, but the fact remains that no one has any faith in our Councillors or our Government, politics in this country will never change. The government and especially our council are not doing “little”, they are doing “nothing” to help people or businesses in these tough times. This is why I believe strongly that our Council do not deserve wages increase, they should be cutting back so that they can fund projects to help small and medium sized business invest more in our city. Secondly, Postman, absolutely correct, like I have said in previous rants, what is being done outside the city, NOWT! - the council have spent too much time and interest in LIVERPOOL ONE and the ARENA. When they should be able to multi task and deliver more for the taxpayers. As for the expenses scandal it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest, let me say this, if you, I or us don’t pay our taxes, business rates, council tax or commit fraud on VAT, PAYE or any other tax, WE WOULD BE STRUNG UP. But for councillors its different, they merely have to say sorry for breaking the law, and I will pay it back! So my answer for that is no they don’t deserve their wages.

JG BollardsMay 18th 2009.

Catherine: "An Enemy of the People"; Josh: "An Ideal Husband";Dig: "Death of a Salesman"'.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, the simple answer is that other areas of Merseyside have more properties in a higher council tax band than Liverpool, which helps generate more income. You can't compare the City of London with Liverpool. How many Band A properties do you think there are in the City of London (which comprises just the Square Mile)? Probably none I would guess. It has a very low population and most properties will be in a much higher council tax band which yields far more income. The City of London council also owns stacks of land and property which it rents out and makes an absolute fortune on, together with a hundreds of millions of pounds in reserves. All of that explains why it can afford to subsidise council tax so substantially.

PH DeeMay 18th 2009.

Actually Catherine, Grosvenor owns the 42 acres of Liverpool City Centre that is Liverpool One. It is the largest, privately owned piece of city centre real estate in Europe, which is why its streets have their own private security force. You are talking through your arse, Catherine.

The BossMay 18th 2009.

Bruce Springsteen, Dig? I don't think so.

luvvieMay 18th 2009.

What's this play called again??

warriorMay 18th 2009.

this babe is right,it was the Council that took the decision to;1 go ahead with the Lpool 1 scheme2 that brought you the Arena3 the high profile that Liverpool has now4 Capital of culture5 the significant investment that has come to Lpool6 Free use of Council sports facilities plus lots more. Would this have happened under a labour Council with Anderson the Bovver Boy running it. I doubt it. To tell you all the truth all the other Labour leadsers cannot stand the fat git

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, I have re-read you rants, and just to make it crystal clear, this is what you said: "Go and have a word with the retailers that have already failed at Liverpool One because the RENT is astronomical". You also said: "The extraordinary rents Liverpool One is charging". Or am I seeing things?! On the rates, at the risk of repeating myself, I have already explained it is a government agency that determines business rates and not the council.

Civic ServantMay 18th 2009.

It doesn't seem a lot until you add up the final tally. We should have a smaller council and have local people who for free would scrutinise the activities and costs of the executive.

warriorMay 18th 2009.

Take a look at Mersey Travel they pay the Chairman(Labour by the way) £50,000 when it does not have half the number of staff as Liverpool Council has. Comment on that one

Mrs HewittMay 18th 2009.

Catherine if your glass is half empty you shouldn't moan just call the manager. if If you paid for it, it's against the law to not give you the full amount.. As for putting a chip on your shoulder, that is such a childish thing to do, I agree with your there, it is very hard to get grease out of a delicate blouse on a warm wash and you don't want to risk shrinking it if it's too hot. You are also right about the Pier head it was much better when the buses went there and handy for Woodchurch. I totally agree with you about the scouse accents in the shops as well, it is off putting I don't know what some of them are saying, and yes it would be much better if they were employed in the crisp factory like you say. Where I do take issue with you is your comment that the things that have been done are pathetic, I thought the City of culture was very sucessful in the end and what is wrong with the arena? i wouldn't go myself, unless Vince Hill is on but i don't even know if he's still working. He was often on Pebble Mill as you probably know. But everything else you say I agree with 101% aprt from the bits I mentioned and if you were standing for election you would get my vote.

joshMay 18th 2009.

so people who do real jobs and real help for Liverpool suffer, but councillors and MP's get rich qucik!

Mary Retailer MoreMay 18th 2009.

Thoroughly Modern Millets

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Sorry for your mate on Bold Street Josh, but that's competition - and for too long there's been none of it in Liverpool. It's called survival of the fittest! Regarding the streets you mention, Church Street has had new paving and seats and looks far better than it did as well as getting a new Marks and Spencer, refurbished Next store and Primark. The Strand has better signage, lanes and road surfacing. London Road and Berry Street need work I agree but you cant do everywhere at once and there are still plenty of shops open. Why don't you go ask the thousands of people who've got the new jobs in Liverpool One whether they feel the city centre is better or worse off as a result of the development? Or the people who previously shopped in Chester or Manchester who are now coming to Liverpool (I have friends who do this - it's coming straight from the horses mouth, to coin a phrase!)? As for Liverpool being more expensive than its rivals...show me the figures to prove it! Recent statistics from DTZ show Manchester costs £28.50 per square foot compared to Liverpool's £21. Just another FACT for you Josh, rather than your amazing, incredible anecdotes! As for the roadworks, although you can't see water pipes or electricity and gas cables from above the road (particularly with your bad eyesight), if the ancient Victorian infrastructure hadn't been renewed by the gas, electricity and water boards (not the council) the utilities would have become more unreliable. But then that would give you yet another thing to add to the long, long, long, long, long list of things you moan about so you may have been pleased about that! Life's sometimes a bit difficult Josh, and as Dig said we don't live in Utopia. But the fact is that many other areas would kill for the investment Liverpool has had in recent years, yet still there are still people like you who seem to resent it. It must weigh you down carrying those two massive chips on your shoulder every day...

Sitting in ButlinsMay 18th 2009.

Is there a full moon or something?

DigMay 18th 2009.

Josh we are in a global recession. Not just a Liverpool City Centre recession. It is inevitable for more companies than is normal to close. Business always has and always will be survival of the fittest. During a recession people spend less money and more of the weaker businesses will fold. It's simple economics, not Liverpool Councils fault.

DigMay 18th 2009.

So what you're saying is in other cities businesses are getting rent free periods and interest free loans but here in Liverpool they have to pay business rates from day 1? That is interesting, forgive the pun. Other parts of the city are having money spent on it. St.Johns is having a 10m facelift, which it desperately needs if it's to survive. (survival of the fittest) and the Cental Plaza is going to be fantastic, if and when it happens. The whole city is in transition, it hasn't started or ended with Liverpool One. It's unfortunate we're in a recession, but that's affecting businesses around the world and not just Liverpool. It would appear our council could use some of those ideas from other other cities to help new business settle and establish. In fact both Catherine and Josh speak a lot of sense. You both just look at everything from completely different perspectives. Opposites do attract. Go on Liverpool Confidential, send them on a date!!

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

You know so little about business it is shocking Josh. The arena has only been open a little over a year...how many firms do you know that go into profit in year one?! I regularly read about the conference centre having hundreds of delegates, looking at the list there are two NATIONAL health service conferences alone coming in the next few weeks. Yes there won't be massive conferences EVERY day - but nor are there at the NEC, the MEN and the 02. And it is not the only conference venue in town, there are several hotels which also hold events every day which are bringing in money to the local economy. As for the trafford centre - I presume you are up there every day are you to know it is busy ALL the time, even on a wet Tuesday in February! And the key difference with that retail development is that although it is based in Trafford, the borough itself does not see any wider benefit because people go there and only there. The whole point of Liverpool One is that people can easily spend their money elsewhere in the city centre as well.

joshMay 18th 2009.

We don't ask these people to run our city anyway, well, most of us, moreover give me one good thing the council have done that benefits individuals and businesses in liverpool. Instead they debate on increasing costs on services and increased times on parking. As for the hours they work, on national minimum wage rate the leader should work an extra 106 hours per week!!! On top of their normal full time job. I bet his wife is pleased!! Which ever way we look at the situation it never makes any different who runs office, and as for the government where is REAL HELP NOW!! One other thing how many of us know who are local councillor is?

Rose TintedMay 18th 2009.

Let's have a Liverpool Confidential Blind Date for Catherine and Josh. Set the table up in the Arena and we can all buy tickets. But please no drunken fighting in the audience.

David DimblebeyMay 18th 2009.

Hear hear.

PH DeeMay 18th 2009.

Excuse me Catherine, but you do say the council owns everything. Now stop being silly and hurling personal insults at people. Anyone would think you were a councillor. Shall we all open the Bill Davies debate at this point and discuss how he had the city of Liverpool over a barrel for years? Donald Duck could have offered to take Chavasse Park and they city would have been eternally grateful.

JP MilllerMay 18th 2009.

Daze of Whine & Closures

DigMay 18th 2009.

Not at all Ann Allist. I can't see either of them backing down. There's only one way to sort this out once and for all and like the mature responsible adults we all are.... A drinking competition. We might as well have it at an Albert Dock venue. It'll be much needed revenue.

AnonymousMay 18th 2009.

Well I think you were too busy swearing...

warriorMay 18th 2009.

Well if you see whay other Local Councils in the area are paying their Leaders and members it is a lot more than Liverpool,but in Liverpool you have double the population,bigger council,and a higher turnover than other Councils,so in effect you are getting value for money in Liverpool. But you should look at what the Chairman of another August body,MerseyTravel gets it is in the region of £50,000,and it is no way near as big as Liverpool Council,oh and by the way it is a Labour run Authority. Also Mike Storey is not Dep Leader of the Council in Liverpool. I would love someone to comment on this group of facts

joshMay 18th 2009.

I am sorry catherine but the capital of culture has done nothing for individuals or business I must know because I employ over 30 staff. The arean and liverpool one was on the cards before the capital of culture and what did the council do to build these ? Was is the paid planning applications they received? Or was it all the money they put in to build these job boosting schemes? And whislt we have these two delightful centres are they really attracting more consumers, go down and ask the business there because they arnt. We are match to Manchester MEN Arena or The Trafford Centre which has free parking!! And why is it that are parking tickets are (en pounds more than Manchesters. Times have changed but not for the better. My original rant was about why should the council get higher benefits when we are all struggiling maybe catherine you are one of the fortunate people of liverpool that dosnt have to spend tens of thousands in business rates, parking charges and rubbish sevices. We dhouldnt give these more we should be giving less becuase we are receiving less. We need the councillors to help us. Instead they blow are taxes on. Canapes, football matches, hotels and FREE parking. Rubbish, loads of rubbish!!!

AnonymousMay 18th 2009.

ha ha ha

DigMay 18th 2009.

I meant contributor, well, it is early.

Don't, don't believe, don't believe the hype, yeeeaahhMay 18th 2009.

Dig, Liverpool got on a league table in some obscure conferencing magazine because the ACC staged the requisite number to qualify last year. The only suggestion that this makes it one of the most "desirable conference venues in the world, beating New York" came from some complicated criteria, the spin machine and the colluding, focus-on-handouts Daily Post. It's bollocks.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

You know so little Josh. Perhaps that is why your business is struggling?The arena and conference centre is owned by the council so I am guessing they had something to do with it being built. The council leased the land to Liverpool 1 so I guess they had something to do with that too. I never said City of Culture was linked with the arena, but I've heard the guy who runs say it really helped give it a boost because of all the attention the city got last year. I was down at the Albert Dock recently and the owner of a restaurant was proudly telling me how much the arena and conference centre has boosted his business and about his expansion plans. The argument about free parking at the Trafford Centre doesn't really add up because you'd spend more on petrol getting there.

The Man on the Garston OmnibusMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, we did turn out to the polling stations to vote and the blithering, butter-fingered Lib-Dems were out - for a few short hours. Then a so-called ‘independent’ joined their ranks, put the Lib-Dem deadheads back in control of their handcart to hell and made a mockery of the electorate, the institution of democracy and wasted all the money that had been wasted on the election. Is it any wonder many people don't vote? It just underlines something Ken Livingston is supposed to have said in the 1980s: 'if voting changed anything, it would be abolished'.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, can you please scroll up! and read by rants again! you will see that I am talking about RENTS & RATES separately - the RATES are payable to the COUNCIL from day one and at a very excessive rate!!!- however, the RENT which is paid to the LANDLORD has rent free periods. Please read and correct! As for St John’s, yes I think that it could do with a facelift, however, don’t you think something should be done to help the businesses their before and whilst they are losing trade! – Therefore, whilst the council was entertaining delegates from all around the world with tax payers Canapés & Champagne to show off the wonderful Liverpool One, don’t you think they should have shown some effort in making sure the rest of the city centre survived, hence, instead of gloating to the world about Liverpool One they could have helped St John’s get a face lift quicker, it could have all happened at the same time, because, don’t forget Catherine our council is suppose to be the best equipped with knowledge about real estate since Liverpool One was all their doing wasn’t it? – so don’t you think they could help St Johns do the same? Probably not, because they are too busy showing off Liverpool One!

Mrs Slocombe's pussyMay 18th 2009.

Can I be in it if I trim my bush back?

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, Liverpool was down at number 15 in the shopping visitors league table a couple of years back. Experian now say it has now jumped to number five because of Liverpool One. I suppose they've just made that up have they? People are grown up enough to know that they have to pay to park in a big city. They mightn't like it, but they accept it. And we do have a fairly good public transport system if you really object. I never remember when Chavasse Park was booming - it was just a patch of grass land that cut the city centre off from the Albert Dock with a few drunks on it. I heard the boss of a shipping line on Radio Four just yesterday saying he'd moved his firms headquarters to Liverpool from London precisely because it offered value for money and a competitive edge. Yes, Liverpool was dirt cheap for years because it didn't have the infrastructure or the facilities of other major cities. But it does now, and that means rental and land costs are rising to reflect the fact the city offers much more than it once did. That's dead simple market economics. I can't believe you are arguing that the city was better off without the arena and covention centre and Liverpool One. Absolutely astonishing.

warriorMay 18th 2009.

errr yes, like a lot of other Councils all because this labour government has the view that getting rid of the provision of Adult Social Care to the Private Sector is best practise.

PH DeeMay 18th 2009.

Did you say the "anal" link opening? Anyroad, the Sports Personality and MTV awards were fought for as part of Capital of Culture year S O T H E Y D O N' T C O U N T. I'll leave it to Josh to discuss the shops with you.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

If you read my last rant correctly Catherine, you would had seen that I said it was VERY common for businesses to have rent free periods from the LANDLORDS so I am afraid that doesn’t surprise me. However, what I was saying that there is no such thing as a RATE FREE PERIOD (especially with our council) is there?, no matter where you open your business you wouldn’t be a very good business man/woman if you didn’t negotiate a rent free period. But can you go to the council and negotiate a RATE FREE PERIOD, sorry now, its a simply, PAY UP!!! - Get your facts right. Let me also say, that John Lewis was offered a 10 year rent free period from Grosvenor to entice them to Liverpool One, personally, I think that was a bad business decision, because that huge fantastic building that once was John Lewis, now stands empty and looks like it will be for a long time. Shouldn’t Grosvenor enticed someone like Selfridges, which would have been new for our city!! - And as for St John's I am sorry Catherine, but does it really have any choice but to upgrade if it’s going to compete against Liverpool One - but have you not thought about all those independent traders in there that are losing out and or going to lose out whilst it is upgrading? or don't you care now you have Liverpool One to shop at? My goodness, how little you really know about business! The Duke didn’t offer rent free periods because we were about to enter the recession, it’s because no business would have touched Liverpool One if they didn’t! Its standard practice whether we are in a recession or not! – but whilst Landlord’s are offering these rent free periods, don’t you think the council should also offer some sort of rate relief? Because I know that other councils do, but as per usual our GREEDY councillors want as much as they can, as quick as they can.

joshMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, the story I just told you is one of 27 cases I have dealt with in the last 12 months, and that's just me, its not a case of the survival of the fittest, its a case of providing the best possible help to businesses when they need them, do you not realise that with those 27 companies closing or goining into liquidation means the council has lost over three quarters of a million pounds in business rates! But they are not interested because they don't need it because they have Liverpool One to make them more! I am afraid Catherine I live in the real world, not one that goes by on stupid quotes from independant survey by the way don't even trade in our city. I am also sorry but putting the albert dock out of business for 2 years so they can dig up the strand just to provide us with better signs and a new tarmak cannot be justified.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Catherine you are missing the point, whether you take my criticism as moaning, I believe we are here to rant! – overall, my point is simple! “is the council worth its weight in gold” answer = NO. Yes the Arena and Liverpool One are good, but let’s not beat about the bush, are they really as good as they should be? Answer= No. Come on, the Arena is not the O2 Catherine is it! Small groups, silly stupid conventions, is it really maximising its true potential? Answer= No now maybe you have answered my next question for me, WHY, well as you have previously stated, its run by the Council!. And like everything they do, they do it wrong. I think you have your head in bubble, because I wasn’t talking about national chains closing down in Liverpool One, I was taking about the small independents that didn’t even get close to completing, and or the independent restaurateurs that have already gone into administration? Why is this, maybe because the rent and rates are way above our competitors! – Please take a stroll down Liverpool One and open your eyes, take a look inside the shops are they bursting with consumers, get a grip love.... Yes we are in a recessions, but isn’t it fact that Liverpool is one of the worst effected? Please don’t quote silly comments like visitors are increasing, because again, I know fact that they are actually in decline...

Tim Rice but DimMay 18th 2009.

Jesus Christ Superstore or Superdrug

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Just because we have to pay to park in the city, doesn’t mean we should be ripped off. Shouldn’t we fall inline with other councils? - You are so wrong about Chavasse Park, it was a fantastic site in the Summer, people working by, visiting or shopping all sat on the grass, just like the Peir Head - when this was a bus depot, the summer months would have a swarm of people sitting off on the slops. Why do you think they put Chavasse Park back? - Just because Experian says we are Number Five doesn’t reflect that our businesses are thriving! because the costs associated with trading in our City Centre are far higher than our competitors. Liverpool is not London, and it’s not going to attract visitors just because we have Liverpool One. And I didn’t say we where better off without the Arena or Liverpool One, I merely said the city was thriving, and busy before we even had these sites. And as for the infrastructure, well, they messed with our city roads for years, and what was then end result, nothing - Like I said before, can you spot the difference with The Strand, and or Renshaw Street, it took over 18 months to dig up Renshaw Street and it’s no bloody different. Come off it Catherine, the roads and public transport are no different than what they where 10 years ago. Can I also say, that while money was being piled into Liverpool One, what happened to Church Street, Berry Street, London Road, Dale Street or any other outer forum. Absolutely nothing! - these areas are dead on their knees. London Road is now just a ghost town, and more or less all the shops that moved into Liverpool One now stand empty. Do me a favour, get out your office one afternoon, get into your car and drive around the sold called BETTER infrastructure, and try and recognise the better facilities we have, and take a look at all the empty properties. The decline in Liverpool City Centre is happening, and its happening faster than any other city. I have a friend who opened a shop in Bold Street 10 years ago, this shop was trading at a phenomenal rate, he also had the same shop in Manchester, Chester & Leeds all very successful, when Liverpool One opened, the trade on Bold Street started to decline, and declined at a very fast rate. Then came the recession, it declined even more, but only at the Bold Street Shop. All his other stores where trading at the same rate. He sold the Bold Street Store and only 2 months ago the new owner put the shop into administration. This was a business that was trading for over 10 years at a phenomenal rate, but within 18 months fell on its knees. In my line of work, this is one story of many I am hearing everyday. I am not interested in Experian or your so called facts or figures, I am interested in the information supplied to me straight the horses mouth! we cannot bury our heads in statistics that are not helping us today! The city centre is struggling to keep up with the recession harder than any other city centre in the UK. (Oh, and the Councillors want more money, benefits and free canapés!)

Yokel GovernmentMay 18th 2009.

106 hours a week? Thats what the care workers do now thanks to the council cutting their numbers and hourly rates to the bare legal minimum.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh sadly your attitude is typical - little wonder the city has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. Instead of being so defeatist, why not try getting involved and making a difference? You sound like so many scousers...chip on the shoulder, the glass is always half empty, always having a moan rather than doing something about it. It's pathetic. As for things that have been done, apologies if you are blind or partially sighted, but have you not looked around the city recently? How about City of Culture, the arena and conference centre, Liverpool 1 etc etc? Thousands of new jobs created, more visitors coming to the city and so on. We can have a debate about whether the service sector is the right way to go for job creation, but they are at least jobs - and I hear plenty of scouse accents among the staff. Before you mention skilled jobs, I don't think the match, crisp and confectionary plants that many of my older relatives used to work in back in the 60s paid that well either. Or perhaps you like to go back to the 80s when the city centre was a ghost town and the Pier Head best know for being a bus terminus?

Compost heapMay 18th 2009.

Anyone see the city gardener instead? Interesting feature on turnips.

warriorMay 18th 2009.

Josh this work is not being done by the Council it is being done by United utilities,like the previous work in this area was done by Manweb and the Gas people. Not all these road closures are the fault of the Council the Utilities have a legal right to come and dig anywhere up even your yard or garden if they wish.

WernerMay 18th 2009.

Are any of them under 60? The Arena is all good and well, but let's not get carried away. Where's Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder? Not forgetting the G8 which Flo Clucas proclaimed it would be bound attract last year.

Jonah off BrooksideMay 18th 2009.

Josh was right about the Albert Dock in the days of free parking, it was always busy. Shops closed down only because of astronomical rent rises inflicted by the Albert Dock Company, which is is why the shops there were pricy and crap or short-lived. They've nearly all been replaced with bars that are pricy and crap, attracting only footballers, their dubious followers and unwary tourists.

PostmanMay 18th 2009.

Catherine and Josh I have been following your debate and found it very interesting, painting two very different pictures of the city seen from different vantage points, I suppose. The debate of course was supposed to be about allowance increases for Councilors but has largely focussed on the city centre businesses as the justification for or against. There are many other issues in the city that could be looked at such as the Kensington new deal fiasco, the Boot estate, the cost of Liverpool direct and us becoming labelled as the worst council in the country. But I am wondering what your opinions are on a councillor with a recent conviction not only failing to resign as a councillor, continuing to colect his allowances but also being given a prominant post with on the board of merseytravel with the full support of the leader who seems to be cocking a snoot at the judicial system and a complete failure to accept any guilt even after the convicted councillor being damned by the appeal judge? Now he will get over £5,000 on top of his basic allowances and full time salary, d you catherine think that this is justified, ethical and worthy of such financial rewards? Are the liveral democrat councillors so devoid of talented people that they have to chose a person recently decribed as carrying out dirty tricks of the lowest order and bringing disgrace to his party and to politicians? Does behaviour like that warrent financial reward when the decision is backed by the rest of the Libe Dem group along with a failure from day one to take decisive action? What do you think Catherine? Josh? Should we reward Councillors who break the law?

DigMay 18th 2009.

Where are David Dimbleby and Will Young when you need them? I'm not about to join the debate but I think Josh & Catherine both make some credible, valid points and some crap ones too. Interestingly you both disagree on all counts.

The Duke of DebenhamsMay 18th 2009.

Much Ado About Shopping.

Michael MyersMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, you have taken the level of debate on here to a new level of silliness and are frankly becoming even more of a loudmouthed bore than a week ago when you first came on here insulting the readers.

Truculent of ToxtethMay 18th 2009.

Surely it could attract The Motor Show, the Ideal Home Exhibition, the Royal Tournament, etc., if it was any good? Mind you, I've heard that the Arena is VERY pricy. Perhaps geriatric millonaires living in the U.S. are the only ones who can afford to hire it?

TourmanMay 18th 2009.

We have 30 Wards, so why do we have 90 councillors, one per ward would reduce this wage bill. There are far too many layers of bureaucracy in this country. Too many MPs as well, 652 is too many. Time to down size alround

JoshMay 18th 2009.

There you go again Catherine, pointing out words already quoted on radio shows, or independent surveyors, or useless statistics. The fact is whilst Liverpool One is 96% full let, the businesses there are really struggling. Let me answer Dig, are the councils doing their bit to fill the empty shows, or entice local small to medium business invest in our City, well now. Let me say, when a business takes on a lease, it is pretty standard that they negotiate a rent free period with their landlord, this enables them to manage their cashflow in the early part of the business, and it also enables the landlord keeping their unit occupied longer, because they are helping the tenant. However, from the very first day you open, you have to pay business rates! - however, in some other councils, Leeds for one, they offer early incentives and 0% interest free loans to new s&m companies to enable them to get through the early part of the business, by providing rate reliefs early in a business with only help its life span – coming back to the survival of the fittest, this isn’t always the case, you can have the best products, at the best prices and under achieve because your cashflow restrictions. Whilst Catherine runs off facts and figures quoted to her from NONE RETAILERS - let me point out that whilst national chains open in Liverpool One these have the financial capability to honour the excessive rates from day one, but what about the small independent companies, people who grew up in Liverpool and always dreamt of opening their own cafe, bar, clothes shop, restaurant or any other outlet - for example, Docklands Bars whom own 2 restaurants in Liverpool went into Liquidation only a couple of months ago, the same company that also has 2 other bars on the Albert Dock. Or should it be that Liverpool One should be filled to the max with national chains, what about a little authenticity. For years Liverpool people ran successful businesses in the City and Markets, this just isn’t possible anymore. For us to benefit we need time spent not just on Liverpool One but other parts of our City Centre, because, whilst you think businesses are failing because "it's the survival of the fittest" this is not the case, because these businesses haven’t a leg to stand on if every bugger is going to Liverpool One.

Stanley StreetMay 18th 2009.

It strikes me that in order to benefit the city that the arena needs to stage events that last days or weeks and attract visitors all that time to spend money in the neighbouring parts of town.One-night performances by old pop stars and events like the MTV awards attract a limited number of ticket-holders for one night only. As for the performers, they fly in with an entourage that brings everything in with it and takes it all out again the next morning, so there is little benefit for businesses around the arena.A well-publicised exhibition at The Tate Gallery (e.g., Kustav Klimt) was probably of far greater benefit to the city's businesses (despite the lack of signage for visitors and the transformation of The Strand into a no-man's-land of muddy pools by the Council)

DigMay 18th 2009.

You should be happy Catherine, at least this Laz article has something resembling a debate. I think Laz is possibly a bit confused now as he seemed to be starting to subscribe to the anarchic nonsensical ramblings that usually ensues.

DigMay 18th 2009.

Of all the people in my rant it's interesting that you single out Bruce Springsteen.....

Pop TartMay 18th 2009.

Catherine my darling you are starting to contradict yourself now, either the restaurants are thriving or they are not, make up your mind!

Shoulder of ChipsMay 18th 2009.

So the council is doing nothing for business and the Duke was getting desperate when he started to see the value of the development plunge. How's he doing flogging those hideous flats?

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Where are all these roadworks - can I have a list please? I didn't see many when driving into the city this morning, but maybe I'm going the wrong way! Parking, I go to other cities a lot and it is not true that Liverpool is more expensive. I can park within spitting distance of the shops for £6 per day here, try doing that in Manchester. Here's an idea to avoid getting a ticket, just park legally and don't overstay (just like you have to in every other town and city in the country). Radical, huh?! Keep 'em coming Josh - it's a bit cloudy today, that's probably down to the politicians as well....

DigMay 18th 2009.

Can I be in it as I'm free?

DigMay 18th 2009.

Rather than complain about everything have you tried getting on with it, keeping your chin up and making the most of it? We aren't living in Utopia. Never have done and never will but the only way we can make things a bit better for ourselves is to be positive.

head shotMay 18th 2009.

Josh, you are absolutely right

IndyManMay 18th 2009.

Gerry Mandarin is wrong to suggest you have to belong to a political party to become a councillor. Individuals can stand as councillors, and indeed as MPs or even MEPs. You have to have a small number of seconders, but to stand for council there is no fees to pay. Obviously most councillors are linked to established political parties. Some councils in the country are actually run by coalitions of independents. So for those you are unhappy with the current party- bashing here's your big chance.

Jobs for me matesMay 18th 2009.

Particularly improvements to the amounts councillors can cream off from the taxpayer.

Robert Shaw StreetMay 18th 2009.

The Takings of Debenhams One Two Three

DigMay 18th 2009.

Excuse me Editorial. Old man?

Hugh TopianMay 18th 2009.

And Dig, I did like your Welder mate joke.

Jacques CustardMay 18th 2009.

Pf course one of the most genuine international attractions that could have been built in the city,where they were begging for the derelict docklands was the massive Marine Bio-Dome about 5 times the size of the Eden project. The council threw the letters in the bin saying try Wirral.They obviously thought fast buck empty aprtment blocks was more of an international attraction rather than a site of international scientific study and interest.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, I never said the council developed the land or owned it. The point I was making was that the council enabled the development to take place by going out and searching for a partner. Can I suggest you take a look at this website here which explains the background to the whole Liverpool One project www.liverpoolpsda.co.uk/…/background.htm… as I think you are having a little difficulty understanding me. The key point is where it says that "Grosvenor was selected by Liverpool City Council (LCC) as developer for the Paradise Street Development Area (PSDA) project in March 2000". I know there are some big words in there with more than a couple of syllables, but even you should be able to understand that it was the council that went out and chose Grosvenor. I am not sure when you go over to Liverpool One, but every time I am there it is heaving. As for retailers going bust, yes, those that are part of a national chain which goes under will close. They can't just keep the Liverpool One store open and close every other one across the country! Although I see that the Zavvi store has already been renamed and reopened. As for the Arena, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Bob Dylan...all music legends who have played there since it opened. Does that sound to you like somewhere that a venue that is not doing very well? But I can see that you are one of those people who just complains and moans about everything. Nothing is ever good enough. If you were told you'd won a million pounds you'd complain it wasn't 2 million. There's always a problem and not a solution. It's always someone elses fault. Get a grip Josh, you must be the most miserable person in the world to be around. I pity you.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

OK, Catherine, my point all along was "is our council really worth its money" nope. You have failed to give me one fact where the council is helping us through these tough times, by means of concessions, which primarily means, reliefs on increases, deferring payment etc...is the council prepared to do this, NOPE however, they are entitled to their wage increases. Don’t give me that BULL that the visitors numbers are up! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE speak with as many businesses as you can in Liverpool and ask them if there SALES ARE UP!!! NOPE then go and ask your lovely council are BENEFITS UP! YES, COUNCIL TAX BENEFIT, HOUSING BENEFIT, PEOPLE OUT OF WORK these are all increasing by the month. And not just here in Liverpool but all over the UK, but ok, you asked me whether I could find one council who are helping their local businesses/individuals, well, I don’t have to, because other councils are not ripping their locals off, for example, all BAND A – Knowsley £900, St Helens £900, Manchester WOW £800, and wait for it, the City of London £600, BUT LIVERPOOL £1000!!!! - The fact is that council have do nothing to help at all, Liverpool City Council have been ripping us off for years, increase here, increase there, but give nothing back. Please Catherine pull your head from out the clouds and see that the council are not providing any help, support, incentives, savings, or concessions this year. "but hey, they must get there annual wage increases" shouldn’t it be, if we are getting less, they should get less? – Hence “well Councillor, we are in tough trading conditions, the economy is on a downturn, visitors are decreasing so lets not increase our council tax this year, because we already have higher than normal rates, moreover, lets freeze our benefits/wage increases as well, by all means, the government are scrapping their benefits scheme, the banks have been told to freeze their bonuses, I think we should fall in line here to save face” – I am sorry Catherine but you have not provided me with ONE SOLID fact where our council is providing REAL HELP NOW!

DigMay 18th 2009.

I couldn't say whether I think we get value for money. Councillors are salaried and entitled to their wages. A few wage reductions is neither here nor there in the bigger picture. As for the council helping businesses, of course they should. I am not privy to a lot of local business info as you appear to be. I do know that it is in the councils interest to have shops in units trading and paying rent. Closed businesses and empty shops and units doesn't just look bad in the city it also means less income for the council so I'm sure they are doing their bit. How much they're doing I don't know.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Ooh, go on then why not!

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

I didn't see it but I don't make a habit of watching 'Tonight' as it's so sensationalist. But I would make the following points. Firstly, council's have to make do with less every year as part of efficiency targets. Pay rises for staff are set nationally and this year I believe it will be around 0.5 percent. The allowances for councillors were proposed by an independent panel so the figure wasn't picked by councillors. Furthermore, between 2004 and 2008 allowances went up 12 percent in Liverpool compared to 32 percent in Birmingham, 18 percent in Sheffield and 17 percent in Manchester. The way you talk it seems as if these things are unique to Liverpool - they are not. PS: Went up Bold Street the other day, mid afternoon, it was very busy and I counted just 4 vacant units out of what must be at least 90 on the whole street. I really am not seeing this deserted city centre that you keep talking about.

DigMay 18th 2009.

Can Liverpool Confidential sort another blind date to sort these 2 out?

Gerry AttrixMay 18th 2009.

"Eric Clapton, Elton John, Bob Dylan" - Oh, I never realised that the Arena was a museum! I must pop along there some time.

Mrs HewittMay 18th 2009.

I'm sorry Catherine but you have just lost my vote with all that filthy language. Shame on you!

PH DeeMay 18th 2009.

Is right you know. Catherine.

Reggie McCoughMay 18th 2009.

Dig I have changed my mind. I have decided that Catherine will be played by Mollie Sugden and Josh will be played by Trevor Bannister set in the Three Graces Bros boarded up shop on Church Street. Liverpool's own Young Mr Graceless will play leader of the local council in Are You Being Served?

JoshnMay 18th 2009.

gone were the days, when Chavasse Park was booming every day. People who lived and visited the City would park FREE OF CHARGE on the site the Arena is today, the Albert Dock was bustling, bars, shops and restaurants where thriving. And this was all without the Arena and Liverpool One. I have traded in the City for over 15 years, and I have had businesses all over. I and many other businesses in Liverpool will confirm that these iconic buildings/sites have done nothing for our city as yet. Whilst in the future these may begin to bring us wealth, they are far from providing this for us yet. It's far to expensive to trade in Liverpool and its far to expensive to shop, park and visit our City. Just like the most successful retailer out there, "Primark" they offer value for money, so they are busy all the time. However Marks & Spencer’s offers are a little more expensive items, so they have recorded their first losses. The City is just like that, when we offer our Parking for free and not over price our leases, or the extraordinary rents Liverpool One is charging we will have more shoppers and more shoppers regularly. In today's difficult climate all off the UK are struggling, but is it a fact that Liverpool are one of the most affected areas in the recession, because we don’t offer value for money! We need a Council that will act for today and not for tomorrow, because we are facing these tough times today!

joshMay 18th 2009.

Actually Catherine it doesn't matter, because a similar property in Liverpool on Band A would be a similar property in London, because they are rated on their valuations, but the valuations were made many moons ago. So a two up two down in Liverpool on band A in similar part of liverpool which is similar to an area in london a two up to down would be also on a Band A. But ok that's just London, can you try and give me and explanation to the differences with Knowsley, St Helens and Manchester??? - I pitty your excuses, MP's are in the news everyday about the expense row, and you failed and failed very miserably to give me a fact where are council are helping us in these tough times!! As I have previously stated, Liverpool City Council have been ripping us off for years, don't get me started on the parking, because we are one of the most expensive cities in the UK to park in, and the councils parking fees are one of the most expensive, why is that, you can't even move around the city with road works, you can't leave your car anywhere with tax paying parking attendants booking you its and absolute disgrace because the city centre traffic infrastructure is actually PISS POOR

Pop TartMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, i can hear the ice cracking all around you from here......... and i'm on the Wirral!

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

I don't fancy him Dig so no chance of a date! What Josh is claiming directly contradicts what the Duke of Westminster says in this article here from last September: www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/…/… . To save you the trouble of reading it, he reveals that they HAVE offered "substantial" rent free periods due to the economic downturn! Another article I came across in Property Week says rival agents suspect it is up to two years worth. On the regional telly last night John Lewis's said trade is up 25 percent compared to their old store. A smaller independent shop talked about how well they had been doing. All the shoppers interviewed said they loved Liverpool One. St John's wouldn't be upgrading if it wasn't for Liverpool One. It has raised the standard in Liverpool, and the rest of the city centre will benefit as a result because other stores won't want to lose out.

Well really.....May 18th 2009.

The Arena could attract these shows if it was in the middle of the county. Liverpool is on a branch line, it is a city on the edge. Liverpool worked as a gateway to the west when passenger and freight ships were needed to take people to those places. And it greeted people form Ireland. Its founding role is no more, so it has to reinvent itself. It can do that culturally, Just look at the organic artistic stuff that has been spawned in Liverpool WITHOUT the cold hand of the council on it, or it can remain in fantasy land and try to be a big international player, ignoring the fact that Manchester, geographically, is in a much better position to do that. Even the civil service realise that. A few shops are not going to change things. Pleasant though they are. Wake up!

joshMay 18th 2009.

Cathering that's a load of bull, I know most of the restaurant and bar owners in the Albert Dock two of whom have gone into administration this year, whilst the arena might have boosted their sales on event days what about the other 80% go down then and you wull see the tumble weeds as for Liverpool one go down after the shops close and have a look at the restaurants then. My point is that it was not the councils doing bringing these centres and it wasn't the councils money. And as for the Trafford Centre again my point is if you live in Manchester its free, and like all their parking free or cheaper than Liverpool, if you live in Liverpool your goosed cos you got to fork out £2 an hour to park at Liverpool One and if you park in town you will only end up getting a ticket for being 5 mins late. And as for the typical scouser and or why most peolple don't vote is the same reasons why the council and the goverment spend millions of punds per year of our tax money telling us to vote, but the problem is the majority of us have no faith in the system. It makes know different who is in power it will never change, or are you saying that if I was elected tomorrow as the new leader of Liverpool Council I could make a difference to people, by investing money not just in the city centre but outside the centre, or reduce parking to encourage more people to come to the city, or give some money back to businesses who have invested heavily in the city, I think not, I would just be another mupet being pulled by strings, becasue the council can't reduce their income becuase they won't have enought for their riches.

Cherry LaneMay 18th 2009.

Someone runs Kirkby?

AnonymousMay 18th 2009.

Catherine seems very bitter about the ranters. Why does she not like the spirit of free speech on here? What is she frightened of?

The Man on the Garston OmnibusMay 18th 2009.

You're right, Warrior, Storey isn't the Deputy Leader, he's our Lord Mayor.Oh God...

joshMay 18th 2009.

Little business senimars arnt big enough events to suffice all restaurants and bars! Liverpool one and town should have been busy because its bank holiday, but is it like that all the time? No, but is the trafford centre always busy YEAH, and what was that "the arena is ON COURSE to make a profit" so I was right its not making a profit, its a business and a business is there to make a profit, plus I am still waiting for my fact, or is that you can't answer that one???,

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Looking at the council report I see that this is a 2 percent pay rise, so pretty much just in line with wage inflation. Outrageous!

Benson StreetMay 18th 2009.

If you're used to the typically low wages people get in this part of the country, suddenly being paid £26,000 would feel like £200,000!

Hics-villeMay 18th 2009.

Has Catherine been drinking?

DigMay 18th 2009.

Were they or were they not in The ACC? As for Bruce Springsteen I'm not a fan but you can't deny his popularity for the last 30 years. 8 of his last 12 albums going to number 1. I think so.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

More misinformation Josh! The government does not set business rates - the GOVERNMENT does. Cleverly though, the government gets the COUNCIL to collect it which leads to most businesses thinking that they set the rate! In the meantime, council's are getting less money in real terms each year as the government expects them to find 3% efficiency savings when calculating how much they should get (80% of the money council's get comes from government and just 20% from council tax). Brilliant, eh?!

Honey LaneMay 18th 2009.

Does the Lib-Dem man who acts as "shop steward" for those eyesore stalls (that blighted Church Street for decades in the face of public opinion) trouser any cash from this beano?

DigMay 18th 2009.

Ann Allist insulting everybody eh? So you are a quality contributer are you? Well you have the platform to prove that. On your marks, get set, GO! I said GO!

Get a life CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, no one likes a smart arse. Shall we remind ourselves of your own effing and blinding earlier on when you first got your knickers in a twist.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

PH Dee, my mistake, I should have said that the council "owned" the land and not "owns" it. But my key point remains, it did own the land and made the decision to revitalise the city centre by leasing it to Grosvenor. Quite how that can be construed as the council having nothing to do with it is beyond me. As for Bill Davies, yes he did have the city over a barrel but he hasn't any more so let's see that as a positive thing rather than wasting time picking over the past as we love to do in Liverpool.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, don't know if you watched Pay Drop Britain last night? if you did you would understand what I was talking about all along, companies all over Liverpool are forcing employees to take a wage cut, freezing wages and freezing bonuses, but Liverpool City Council believe they have done such a wonderful job with "Liverpool One" that they are above the recession and deserve themselves a pay rise! get a grip love, the world is in a mess, the Chief Executive of Liverpool Council gets paid the same salary as the President of the USA. Liverpool City Council cannot justify any increase, they should be taking a cut like all those hard working people around the country who have told to do the same.

WarriorMay 18th 2009.

yes it was the Lib S who planned all this not one eyed Brown and the fat Gits party

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Story today on the radio that 96% of Liverpool One units have been let. Those "sky high" costs are really putting businesses off! They have had 20 million visits in the first year. Footfall in city centre overall is up 18%. What a complete and utter flop Liverpool One is!

JoshMay 18th 2009.

May I also say Catherine, that the City’s decline cannot not be justified on that fact that we are in a recession, because I and other members close to me have business in other cities, but like I have said, there is now faith from locals or communities, and even most councillors have no faith in the system. Moreover, little has been spent to build better communities outside the city centre, and little has been spent to build better relationships with investors, who we need to build these communities. The council has subjected its priorities on the city centre, and unfortunately for us who live in Liverpool, and who don’t live in the City and who always don’t want to travel to the city centre (because of the costs associated with it). I would also come back to the Capital of Culture, what a mess the council put us in there may I remind you! Cancelling the Mathew street festival, but hey put ringo in a steel container on top of St Georges Hall!!!!. I ask you!!!. I tell you what, put a survey out to retailers, business, investors and restaurateurs in the city and I am sure a majority would say that, the one and only event last year which generate more visitors to the city of a better life span was the La Machine, because it was an event focused over a week. However, ask the locals of Liverpool what they think about Ringo being flow in on a stupid container; what did this generate, only him given us a piss poor verdict of our city!! I am sorry, but the more we think about what has gone on in this city over the last 10 years only justifies its demining votes!, the people of Liverpool have no faith in our system or our Governments, and or any other Government coming into power. Please give me something that’s worth praising about, because all our council and our government has to show is 200% pure scandal, and if you don’t believe me, invest in sky news!!!

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

I am having trouble spotting Josh's facts, Ann Allist. Perhaps you could do me the honour of pointing them out to me? It is me who has had to explain to him that the government sets business rates and not the council; that the council was instrumental in Liverpool One and that the arena and conference centre has had a major impact on the Albert Dock. These are all things that he got wrong. If you read my postings you will see that in correcting him I have pointed to factual evidence. As for reducing business rates, the decision around discounts and reductions is regulated by strict rules laid down by the Valuation Office Agency (a GOVERNMENT department), which sets business rates. Councils merely collect the money on their behalf (perhaps Josh could name me some other councils that have reduced business rates?) . As for what is being done to help business in the city, it is self evident that recent developments and City of Culture have boosted the economy quite considerably...is that not classed as helping businesses succeed? I am not sure how the service sector could justify asking for a rates reduction when visitor numbers are at record levels - it is up to them maximise the opportunity! Securing a place at the world expo is also a pretty decent achievement which will pay dividends for the city in the medium to long term. But no doubt that will conveniently be labelled a junket by the usual suspects on this forum!

PH DeeMay 18th 2009.

And your assertions about the arena are similarly without foundation.

The voice of John BensonMay 18th 2009.

Where's Catherine today - has she had a win at the Bingo?

Wordy AllenMay 18th 2009.

Deconstructing Larry

Shirley Porter & Gerry MandarinMay 18th 2009.

Council Tax is set to cover the arbitrary shortfall between the rates support grant (as it used to be called) from central government, and the actual cost of running the authority. Council tax is probably less than 10% of the true cost. The amount of money given by government to local authorities is governed by a particular formula. Notoriously under the Tory government, the formula that was applied to Wandsworth in London (which had the lowest council tax in the country) if it had been applied to Liverpool (highest in the country) then the Liverpool City Council would have actually been able to pay us just for living here rather than us paying them Council Tax.

JoshMay 18th 2009.

Well, again, Catherine you are so wrong!!. Its wasn’t the council’s doing that Liverpool One was developed, because, Grosvenor was bidding for development in Liverpool long before the Capital of Culture. Just because the CITY OF LIVERPOOL had rights on the land it was built on doesn’t mean the council are both the landlords and or the developers of the land ( I will come back to Liverpool One in a moment ) . However, are you know telling me that TAX PAYERS have paid for the build of the Arena ( therefore dosnt that give us special treatment to this centre???), and are you telling me that the Tax Payers are paying the wages for the Arena Staff, or are you saying! That the arena maybe owned by the council, however, the staff employed there ( bear in mind they are only on flexi time, because they are not guaranteed their hours every week, because it doesn’t generate as much as what was budgeted ) are paid by the proceeds of ticket sales ?? additionally, can you comment on the fact that “is the Arena generating as much interest as our neighbouring Arenas” (MEN, REEBOK etc ....??)” . Ok, back to Liverpool One, just because the council gave Liverpool One planning permission, does that mean they are the bee all and end all of Liverpool one? No, because would the council have said now to the business rate this scheme is generating???????????? And also, as for the restaurants, not just them are struggling, go and have a word with the retailers!!!! - I tell you what go and have a word with the retailers that are struggling, or I tell you what, go and have a word with the retailers that have already failed at Liverpool One because the RENT is astronomical which subsequently equates to even more astronomical BUSINESS RATES which have forced them to close or is forcing them to give bigger savings to the consumers. As for Gordon Ramsey, well, I tell you what, get him to spend a day at the council, his rant would be, “What the F***ing hell is going on in this city, local business are struggling, investment is at its lowest, consumer spending is decreasing and visitors to the city is declining, however, local councillors are f***king creaming off it, paid lunches, paid special events, get what the f**k they like when the f***king want it, taxi here, taxi there, canapé here, champagne at f***king champu, who gives a f**k its the tax payers money, oh and because I ‘Gordon Ramsey’ have come into the city, they have asked me to prepare a special lunch for them, get a f**kin grip, why aren’t these ar**holes helping business and people now!!!” - I’ll tell you what, wake up Catherine, the city is as much on its arse as it was in the 90’s obviously some people are blind to see it, but give me one fact, just one fact, where this city is better off now as it was 10 years ago!!!!

DigMay 18th 2009.

I've spoke to Reggie McCough and this is getting turned into a TV Drama. Samantha Janus is to play Catherine and Mark Womack to play Josh. Hmmmm just need a name for it now. How about Liverpool 1?

EditorialMay 18th 2009.

Keeping out of this one, Dig, old man.

CatherineMay 18th 2009.

Josh, it was entirely the council's doing that Liverpool One opened. It would not have happened without them. Who do you think owns the land upon which it is built? Answer...the council. So who do you think it was that launched the development opportunity and eventually chose Grosvenor? Yes, the council. Who gave it planning permission? The council. And so on. Do you also not think it is better for the private sector to have borne the £1 billion cost of building it, rather than council tax payers?On to the arena. Whose building is it? Answer: The council. Who appointed the guy who runs it? Er, the council. Who employs the staff? Yes, it's the council. Restaurants may be struggling, but this is a recession and people are tightening their belts so it is survival of the fittest. Maybe they need to get Gordon Ramsay in to do a Kitchen Nightmares on them. I can picture the scene: "You're in Liverpool's most popular f***ing tourist attraction and you're f***ing whinging you've got no f***ing customers? Get a f***ing grip!"

joshMay 18th 2009.

Catherine, you are short sited! - basically, the rent is astronomical and the rates are even worse. But, you pointed out to me about Liverpool One was offering RENT FREE PERIODS as if they where doing retailers a favour – when it’s simple business strategy to have rent free periods. No retailer would have gone to Liverpool One without a rent free period - PLEASE READ RANTS AGAIN YOU WILL SEE – however, do the council offer RATE FREE PERIODS TO NEW S&M Businesses NOPE do other councils in the UK – YES SOME DO!!!!! Do me a favour, don’t through my words back at me, I already know what I have said, which is absolutely correct! – AND WOW how you do have to repeat yourself about the government setting the rates and the council just collecting them – because what about these other council’s that offer RATE FREE PERIODS, obviously the council have the power to give this incentive?? Or don’t they?? – my god, if they can BRING AND BUILD THE ARENA & LIVERPOOL ONE I would have thought they could have a little power to offer these incentives?

THe Man on the Garston OmnibusMay 18th 2009.

So Storey will get an extra £24,109 on top of his fat head teacher's salary? I would be HIGHLY tempted to join their ranks for that kind of money (plus all the trips, expenses, canapes, champagne, etc) and lets face it, I couldn't really do a worse job, now could I?

Clutching HandbagMay 18th 2009.

OOoooooOOhh!"Comment on that one" I don't think it's worth commentimg on anything said by somebody who calls themselves Warrior especially when the only point they make is that some surrounding authorities and merseytravel are even worse. Damn that is a comment i suppose. That Warrener tricked me.

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