Warrington’s inequality shame

April 22, 2017 7:57 AM
By Webmaster

The Centre for Cities, often quoted by Warrington's Labour leaders, when they talk about the town's success, has shown that Warrington is the most unequal "city" in the North West. This is shameful, given that they class Warrington as the only "High-Wage, Low-Welfare" "city" south of Edinburgh and North of Cambridge.

The most deprived parts of the town lie in the Warrington North constituency, represented by Labour MPs since it was created in 1983. The current MP has represented the area since 1997 including 13 years of Labour Government.

All but one of the wards in the constituency have Labour councillors, including all the seriously deprived and disconnected areas. In these, with very low turnouts at local elections, now suspended by Labour until 2020, Labour Councillors are regularly returned.

So, what have Labour done for their constituents? It is not at all obvious in a town that is relatively prosperous, has low unemployment and most pupils do well at school. Yet in the deprived areas schools are failing to encourage many youngsters to learn and get the skills necessary to share in Warrington's prosperity.

If one was cynical one might believe that Labour prospers from a 'dependency culture' because, the few people who bother to vote, stick to their Labour tribal loyalty because they think they are the party of the "working class". Fortunately, except for the General Election, UKIP is convincing few of these voters that they have the answer.

During the six years that the Council had a Liberal Democrat led administration we stood under the banner of "One Warrington" our policies were designed to reduce the inequality gaps in the town. We got the Orford Hub funded and built. We converted Golden Gates into a Housing Trust releasing £150m for investment in the houses in the poorest parts of the town. We introduced the ArcAngel scheme which successfully reduced alcohol and drug fuelled violence near the town centre and we funded "Stronger Together" programs to help the most deprived areas work with us to reduce their problems.

In government, Liberal Democrat policies helped the least well off and the only just managing. It was our policy to remove those earning least from tax. Pupil premium and free school meals for the young were designed to help the most disadvantaged study. Only when restrained by the Liberal Democrats did the Tories show any real care for our disadvantaged areas.

The MP for Warrington North and her followers on the Council seem to believe that linking up with Liverpool, an area much more deprived and needy than Warrington, is the answer to getting a better deal for Warrington's most disadvantaged areas.

We do not agree and we welcome the decision of the current Executive Board to pursue discussions on a deal with the two unitary Cheshire Authorities for a devolution deal which is likely to bring funding to Warrington fastest and is most likely to enable us to grow our way out of the inequality that currently shames us. wp-content/uploads/inequality.jpg