The Liberal Democrats have been victorious in forcing a Labour U-Turn on perks for executive bosses.
A new pay policy set to be agreed at Liverpool City Council's budget meeting on Wednesday will result in the ending of luxury car perks that outraged city council tax payers, and led to claims that Liverpool's Labour council was "For the FEW, not the MANY."
In December 2017 the Liberal Democrats revealed that the Labour run council had secretly doubled the number of luxury cars being given to senior executives. Meanwhile Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald had his council funded car upgraded to a new £40,000 Jaguar XF, and continues to have use of the vehicle despite his suspension from the council.
The information was uncovered by the city's Lib Dem deputy leader Councillor Andrew Makinson, after several months of digging in the face of repeated denials by the council, and threats to Cllr Makinson.
Footage from last year's council budget meeting shows an angry Mayor Anderson threatening Cllr Makinson with legal action for highlighting these car leases. Mayor Anderson was backed up by the City Solicitor, who went on to rule Cllr Makinson out of order for raising the issue. Footage of the row can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGnpj4SRxtk - starting at 2 minutes 14 seconds.
"This is a humiliating climb-down for Mayor Anderson's Labour council. This time last year he was angrily insisting that these executive perks didn't even exist. And in January's council meeting, Labour councillors voted to protect car leases for senior council officials," said Councillor Makinson.
"It's clear that Labour would be happy to quietly carry on with these luxury perks, if it had not been for the Liberal Democrats exposing them, and the backlash Labour have since faced from the city's council tax payers."
Previous Pay Policy Statements have failed to declare the existence of these car perks, despite there being a legal requirement to make public any "benefits in kind" given to council officials. (Paragraph 14 under Section 40 of the Localism Act.)
"Liverpool City Council appears to have been breaking the law in keeping the existence of the existence of these perks secret. They are only publishing this information now because they've been found out."
"There is a complete lack of transparency in this council. It shows just why Liverpool needs to elect a strong opposition to Mayor Anderson in the elections on May 3rd."
At the council meeting on Wednesday Liberal Democrats will call on Mayor Anderson to issue a public apology for having mislead the council and the city's voters.