Tuesday, June 12, 2007





Businesses attacked over Capital of Culture

Jun 12 2007

by Jessica Shaughnessy, Liverpool Daily Post

Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Warren Bradley

LIVERPOOL businesses are not doing enough to make Capital of Culture a success, city council leader Warren Bradley warned last night.

He urged the business community to help make the city ready for 2008 by putting their hands in their pockets.

But many businesses said they were reluctant to contribute to Capital of Culture coffers because they had been “left out of the loop” and were already paying enough.

Cllr Bradley said: “Everybody is going to benefit from Capital of Culture; businesses already have but many of them have not made a contribution.

“Put simply, if you want to come to the party, bring a bottle. Businesses will be happy to display the Capital of Culture logo, but they each need to play their part in making it successful.

“One example of how businesses could help is for each of them to put in £100 to pay for banners and flags, perhaps designed by local artists and students, to dress the city for Capital of Culture.”

Cllr Bradley said many businesses could feel they were on the fringe of Capital of Culture. He said: “Businesses might not feel involved in the celebrations, but they can be and should be. I would like to see every organisation in Liverpool become more proactive.

“There are 1,700 members of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce. If they all got together to do something, the benefits would be huge, but so far they haven’t.

“It would be great to see every shop, restaurant and business flying the flag for Capital of Culture.

“There are six months left and we really need people to start thinking about what they can do. This isn’t about the city council dictating to businesses. If they got together to come up with a scheme, we would like to see how we could pay them back.”

Former Wirral MP and MEP Andrew Pearce, a member of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce council, last night supported Cllr Bradley’s call.

He said: “The Chamber is wrong to have taken no action so far, but businesses feel detached from 2008 because they are not being engaged by the Culture Company.

“I suggested a year ago to the Chamber of Commerce that they needed to come up with some sort of scheme.

“If you go around Liverpool, there is not much to tell you that, in six months’ time, this will be the European Capital of Culture.”

Chamber vice-chairman Ed Oliver, manager of Clayton Square Shopping Centre, insisted the business community was doing its bit.

He said: “We are not prepared to fill the Culture Company’s coffers with money, but businesses in the Chamber of Commerce will be making a contribution.

“What that is, we don’t yet know. We have not had an opportunity to get together and decide how we will do it.”

Chairman of business lobbying group Downtown Liverpool in Liverpool Frank McKenna said he would be surprised if most businesses in Liverpool were not prepared to “throw £100 into a pot”.

“If the business community had felt as involved and engaged in the process as was promised, then it would be perhaps be more forthcoming in lending a helping hand.

“It should be noted that Liverpool businesses have had to endure the Big Dig at no insignificant cost to the private sector.

“Many of them are also paying increased rates as part of the Business Improvement District (BID). The idea that businesses could promote Capital of Culture was suggested two years ago when a banner was designed and showed to organisers, but they threatened to sue us.

“Cllr Bradley is suffering from the inheritance of a regime which was not quite as accessible to the business community and opportun- ities were missed.”

Liverpool Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson criticised the idea that businesses should have to contribute.

“How dare they ask businesses for more money when they have had £90m and they squandered much of it on Robyn Archer and champagne and canapés.”

Merseyside business-man and former chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Phil Fleming said organisations needed to take their own initiative.

He said: “You have got to be in it to win it. Businesses should be making the most of this opportunity and they are not. If they are not careful, they will miss the boat.”

MPs criticise council for failing to plan for high-cost of policing city in culture year

LIVERPOOL City Council was fiercely criticised in the Commons yesterday for failing to prepare for the high cost of policing the Capital of Culture year.

Jane Kennedy, the Wavertree MP, accused the Liberal Democrat-run council of wasting five years when it should have been building up a war chest.

The Labour backbencher was joined by Home Office minister Joan Ryan, who said: “Liverpool should have factored in the costs of security when they took the decision to bid.”

The attacks came as the Home Office again insisted there would be no extra funding to plug an estimated £10m shortfall in the 2008 policing costs.

Earlier this year, the Merseyside force said it needed funding for 200 extra officers for 2008.

The force said it could end up relying on community support officers to police the streets during 2008 – and warned local taxpayers could be hit by bigger bills.

Critics of the Home Office’s refusal to increase funding have pointed to the extra £5m handed to Manchester in 2002, when it was struggling to pay the bill for the Common-wealth Games.

Yesterday, Wirral South MP Ben Chapman condemned that refusal as “outrageous” – warning that residents elsewhere in Merseyside would suffer.

But Mrs Kennedy said: “The Lib-Dem administration of Liverpool have had five years to plan for the events of 2008 and they have singularly failed to provide the funding – taking Liverpool into debt to £20m.

“By notifying the chief constable too late to allow him to plan properly, they are left asking all taxpayers across Britain to fund Liverpool’s year of culture.”

Tomorrow, Liverpool council will debate possible options for paying for Capital of Culture events, including possibly borrowing £20m.

In reply, Ms Ryan said: “The policing costs involved are, indeed, not a sudden or unexpec-ted pressure.

“Liverpool opted to bid to be Capital of Culture, It was a voluntary decision and one would assume those responsible would do so on the basis that benefits would exceed the costs.

“They have known since 2003 that they would be the European Capital of Culture, so the police have had plenty of time to prepare and certainly that is true for the local authority.”

But Mr Chapman attacked Ms Ryan’s response as “inadequate” and pledged to continue to raise the matter.

He said: “The fact is that Liverpool is representing the whole of the UK and it is unfair that resources for neighbourhood policing should be put under severe pressure as a result.”

Labour leader quits 08 board

Jun 12 2007

by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo

Councillor Joe Anderson

CITY Labour chief Joe Anderson today walked away from his Capital of Culture role and accused the festival board of failing to deliver on its promises.

In a hard-hitting attack he said the Culture Board and the Culture Company were:

  • FAILING to engage communities and real people.
  • FAILING to provide a 2008 events programme that excited people.
  • FAILING to provide a worthwhile legacy for the city and missing the chance to kick-start creative industries.
  • He lashed the council for “mismanaging” the 08 funding equation and leaving Liverpool £20m short.

    Cllr Anderson vowed to fight on from his position as Opposition Group leader in an effort to ensure the city delivered the best-possible Capital of Culture.

    He said: “Wherever I go I have community groups say that they don’t feel part of Capital of Culture.

    “People are constantly complaining about over emphasis on city-centre investment and when you visit parts of Speke and see the dereliction there it really hits home.

    “I’ve been going round mounting a robust defence of Capital of Culture but my heart hasn’t been in it.”

    Cllr Anderson claimed 08 had moved away dramatically from the promises within the bid document that persuaded the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to award Liverpool the Culture accolade in 2003.

    He said: “I met the judges – Jeremy Isaacs, Tessa Sanderson – and told them all about the communities and our bid’s aspirations for them.

    “But these aspirations simply haven’t been met.”

    Cllr Anderson – born in the city centre just yards from the Paradise Street development – also refused to acknowledge that the so-called “2008 effect” had played a massive part in the city’s fast-paced economic renaissance.

    He said: “It’s a myth. The renaissance is real but it was begun by European Objective One funding and maintained by government grants.

    “Don’t forget that when the bid document was launched the Grosvenor shopping development was already in the bag as was development of the King’s Dock. Renaissance was kicking in anyway.”

    Cllr Anderson also claimed arts organisations and creative companies have been betrayed by the way 08 has been developed and have suffered from lack of involvement and no worthwhile legacy.

    He pointed to Liverpool’s literary legends Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell as people who should have been consulted and utilised, perhaps in the creation of theatre schools to develop young talent post-2008.

    He said: “I ask myself what the legacy benefits will be and I can’t really answer that question. The Tall Ships coming back again? A bigger Mathew Street Festival?

    “There is no cultural legacy – only lack of involvement and vision.”

    It was an open secret in political circles that Cllr Anderson was struggling to reconcile his role on a cross-party and public-private sector board with his position as the city’s premier voice of opposition to the ruling Lib Dem Group which controls culture activity.

    He now believes he can work more effectively “unfettered” by collective responsibility.

    He added: “I’m now free to make whatever comments I deem constructive – sometimes positive, sometimes critical.

    “I’ve felt for months that talking to some members of the culture board is like banging your head on a brick wall.

    “Everything is met by defensiveness or accusations of negativity.”

    Cllr Anderson said he believed the culture board was guilty of building up unreasonable expectations about the festival from the word go.

    He said: “This festival will not be the wealth-creating, job-creating panacea for all the city’s ailments that it was cracked up to be.

    “There is still time to provide people with the opportunity to take part and also to give the cultural sector better opportunities to participate.

    “And if there’s one good thing to emerge from all the money that’s been spent it’s that the city has got a re-branding. It might be money well spent. We now need to have confidence in what the city has to offer.”

    Cllr Anderson said he would continue “with passion” to promote the city in a positive way.

    “This isn’t about party politics. It’s about me as a person and a Liverpudlian. And about a city with a legacy of debt.”

    Joe Anderson on .....


    WHEN she was brought in everybody thought WHO?

    But it was the Emperor’s New Clothes and no-one said much. Then we hardly saw her for 12 months – even though we were paying her. She then comes up with a programme and that’s when I came up with my remark that the only Aussie she hadn’t signed was Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. David Henshaw and Mike Storey brought her halfway across the world but she knew so little about Liverpool. She quits and we’re a laughing stock, giving her a huge pay-off while community groups are getting knocked back for £2,000.

    ... THE 2008 PROGRAMME

    I’M not convinced there’s really anything outstanding in there.

    There’s nothing that jumps out – no wow factor, no big theme. I’m terrified the 2008 opening ceremony is going to be all about B-list celebrities. And as for 2007 we’re already halfway through it and I don’t detect any great birthday excitement.

    ... 08 BOARD MEMBERS

    PHIL Redmond and Roger Phillips were a breath of fresh air and I wish we had a few more like them.

    They are not controversial but they speak as they see it and as people in the street see it.

    There should definitely be a broader mix of people on the board. In four-and-a-half years we haven’t achieved much.


    THE council has failed to prepare a war chest since COC was awarded in 2004.

    The Government has supplied more than the £10m requested by the city council in the Bid Document.

    Hoping that the Government would bail out the city if it let the problem fester until the last minute was a high-risk strategy.

    The council should have been honest with the people and said “Look, this is what Cultural Year will cost and we will have to save for it between 2003 and 2008”.


    VISITORS might like 2008 but I don’t think residents will.

    Go to Dingle, Everton, Speke and you’ll find people who’ve come up with ideas but they are frustrated at getting neither financial nor physical support.

    It’s a failure that we haven’t encouraged them to participate.

    Police cash turned down again

    THE government has again turned down Merseyside police's bid for extra funding to provide proper protection for Capital of Culture.

    Home Office minister Joan Ryan shrugged off demands for £9m to deploy an extra 200 officers to deal with the expected influx of visitors.

    She said the city region's force, like others across England and Wales, has received extra funding since 1997 and it is "for those responsible for hosting 2008 to plan for security."

    The minister was grilled by Wirral South MP Ben Chapman who fears the refusal will lead to a policing squeeze across the region.

    He said later: "Frankly this is an inadequate response and we shall continue pressing for more resources.

    "The decision to withhold any kind of support, unlike similar major events in the past, is outrageous.

    “The fact is that Liverpool is representing the whole of the UK and it is unfair that cash for neighbourhood policing across Merseyside should be put under severe pressure as a result."

    Last month another Home Office minister, Baroness Scotland, told the Bishop of Liverpool and peers that they had no chance of winning the extra money.

    The issue is fast turning into a major political row as MPs and Lords highlighted the contrast with extra policing costs, picked up by the Treasury, incurred during last year's Labour conference in Manchester and during the 2004 Commonwealth Games in the same city.

    Earlier this year police authority chief Bill Weightman said local council taxpayers should not be penalised.

    Business urged to cough up for culture

    LIVERPOOL businesses have been accused of not doing enough to make Capital of Culture a success.

    Council leader Warren Bradley urged the business community to help make the city ready for 2008 by putting their hands in their pockets.

    But many businesses said they were reluctant to contribute to Capital of Culture coffers because they had been “left out of the loop” and were already paying enough.

    Cllr Bradley said: “Everybody is going to benefit from Capital of Culture; businesses already have but many of them have not made a contribution.

    “Put simply, if you want to come to the party, bring a bottle. Businesses each need to play their part in making Capital of Culture successful.”

    ‘Culture mess will oust the Lib-Dems’

    Jun 13 2007

    by Larry Neild

    Labour leader Joe Anderson tells City Editor Larry Neild why he quit the Capital of Culture board

    LIVERPOOL’S Labour leader, Joe Anderson, said last night his decision to resign from the company spearheading the city’s 2008 culture celebrations had been “heartbreaking”.

    But he predicted that the way the culture programme was being run would see the ruling Liberal Democrats digging their political grave.

    “I have put every one of our councillors and candidates on ‘battle’ footing to prepare to take control of the city next year when the people of the city see for themselves the mess that has been made,” he said.

    The Lib-Dems accused Cllr Anderson of using the Capital of Culture crown as a political football following his shock resignation from the Culture Company board yesterday.

    Cllr Mike Storey, executive member for regeneration, said: “At a time when we should all be flying the flag for our city, we are witnessing political opportunism of the worse kind from Joe Anderson and that saddens me.”

    In his resignation letter to Professor Drummond Bone, chairman of Liverpool Culture Company, Cllr Anderson talks about council taxpayers’ money being wasted on corporate entertainment.

    Figures gathered under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that the Liverpool Culture Company will have a wage bill this year of at least £4.2m, meaning an average salary of £42,000 a year for its 100 staff.

    Invoices seen by the Daily Post include almost £8,000 a month for consultancy fees and expenses for former bid leader Sir Bob Scott, almost £2,400 for a chauffeur-driven car for a culture company officer and almost £5,000 to a recruitment firm to find six candidates for an office manager post.

    Cllr Anderson said: “I have in my office invoices passed to me anonymously, showing Culture Company officers enjoying dinner in Liverpool’s top restaurants while we have small community groups being turned away for funding for their modest projects”.

    PROF Bone, who is also Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said exception would be taken to claims that the celebrations were elitist.

    He called for people to work together and said the board would not be deflected from its key aim of delivering an unfor- gettable programme for 2008. But dozens of messages received at the Labour office in Dale Street backed Cllr Anderson’s decision to quit the Culture Company board.

    “I heard that the city’s ruling Liberal Democrats had described my decision as a stunt, but it has been a heartbreaking decision and something I have been mulling over for some time. If it had been a stunt, I would have jumped before the May local elections,” said Cllr Anderson.

    Cllr Storey was leader of the city council when the decision was made to award Liverpool the European Capital of Culture title.

    He said: “I have had criticisms myself of the Culture Company and we resolved those within the city. I cannot imagine what Cllr Anderson hopes to achieve and in some ways I am glad he has stepped down. It is a very sad day for the Labour party.

    “I believe he has been very badly advised and I know that his decision will not deflect us from delivering a cultural year we can be proud of as a city.

    “If we want to be a premier European city, we have to act like one, and that means we don’t take our special guests down to Fred’s Café. If we host visits by presidents and mayors of major cities, it is right that we extend hospitality.

    “Our leader, Warren Bradley, is out night after night at events and functions, flying the flag for the city we all love. If Liverpool is to succeed in the future then Capital of Culture must succeed. This cheap political shot by Cllr Anderson will not work.”



    Let's all work together pleads Culture chairman

    Jun 12 2007

    by Larry Neild, Liverpool Daily Post

    Prof Drummond Bone

    THE chairman of Liverpool Culture Company this afternoon made the first official response to the resignation from of board of Labour leader Cllr Joe Anderson.

    In his response to Cllr Anderson's decision Professor Drummond Bone, who is also vice chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said partners in the city's 2008 programme will take exception to Cllr Anderson's claims that culture year events are elitist.

    Cllr Anderson said he had no intention of remaining on the sidelines and will articulate his concerns from outside the board.

    Prof Bone: "I have today accepted Joe Anderson"s resignation from the Culture Company Board with both sadness and disappointment.

    "It is a shame that discussion of different priorities will no longer happen inside the Board, particularly at a time when all-party support should be fundamental to the successful delivery of European Capital of Culture for the people of Liverpool.

    "We do a tremendous amount of work with our communities although we can never do enough - projects that are delivered hand in hand with hundreds of Liverpool cultural organisations both large and small.

    "Only last night, FACT played host to the screening of a locally-made film on the Jewish community of Liverpool, which was driven by a small grant from the Culture Company.

    "The involvement of the people of the city was crucial in the bid and remains crucial for the Board not just for next year but also as a legacy.

    "We also have to remember that Liverpool is the UK"s nomination for 2008 and must also deliver a high-quality programme for national and international audiences - I am certain that our partners in the major cultural organisations of the city will take exception to Joe"s claim that events are "elitist".

    "In fact, quite the reverse applies - the programme for 2008 is in excellent shape and reflects the lives, experiences and character of the people of Liverpool.

    "It is vital that we all work together and the Board is determined not to be deflected from its key aim of leading the delivery of an unforgettable programme for 2008."

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