Sefton MBC are holding a full Council meeting this evening at 6.30pm in Southport Town Hall. It promises to be a significant and probably controversial meeting. The Council will receive a report setting out a projected revenue gap of £43.7m over the next two years. The report which is Item 7 on the agenda points out:
"The revenue gaps for each of the years 2013/14 to 2014/15 are projected at £21.7m and £22.0m respectively. The figures are individual in-year savings targets, assuming the previous year’s target is achieved. The Council needs to take action over the coming months in order for a balanced budget to be agreed for 2013/14. The first of these actions are detailed in the report."
Later in the meeting 4 individual Councillors, who have given notice of motion will ask their elected colleagues to support their proposals. Two contrasting motions illustrate another aspect of Local Government. In a Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Hubbard, Councillors will be asked:
"The Council notes that:-
1. the centenary of the battle of Festubert will be in 2015;
2. in excess of 150 men from what is now Sefton, died in that battle; and
3. in 1920, Southport "adopted" the village of Festubert, raising money and establishing a cultural visits programme on an annual basis.
The Council calls upon the Mayor to send a letter of friendship to the Mayor of Festubert"
In the final item of the Council agenda in a Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Dawson, Sefton Council Members will be asked to support this item.
1. Notes the widespread circulation of a report, authored by Cllr Joe Hanson of Liverpool City Council, which has detailed concerns relating to the financial management and past governance of Merseytravel over a number of years, and has prompted criticism from the District Auditor;
2. Welcomes statements from Merseytravel members, councillors of all Parties, of their intention to run their Authority in future in accordance with principles of good governance; and
3. Calls upon the Secretary of State for Transport and the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government to ensure that the matters raised in the 'Hanson Report' and other concerns relating to the governance of Merseytravel in recent years, should be subject of independent investigation.”
Independent observers might expect Council support for the first of these Motions but that the second will be subject to a heated political debate.