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Liverpool residents hardest hit by council austerity cuts

Residents in Liverpool are more aware of cuts to local council services than people living in three other major English cities, according to a new poll.

Conducted by YouGov and released by charity Power to Change, the survey looked into how local people living in Birmingham, London, Liverpool and Manchester experienced cuts and how visible the effect was on public services.

The research found that over two-thirds (69%) of Liverpudlians were aware of financial cuts that had been made since 2010, compared with 68% in Birmingham, 63% in Manchester and just over half (53%) in the capital – the average in England being 60%.

And 83% of those who were aware of the cuts said that they had made a strong or slight impact on them. This is in contrast to 82% in Birmingham, 78% in Manchester and 70% in London.

The highest proportion (37%) of people in Liverpool also stated that the sense of community wellbeing in their area had become much worse since 2010. This falls higher than England’s average of 33%. 

Richard Harries, director of the Power to Change Research Unit, said: “Continued austerity policies are being felt across England, and evidently Liverpool is feeling it more than most.

“We make a mistake if we treat local communities as passive players in all this.”

The director also stressed that increasingly, residents were stepping in to save the spaces and buildings that they love and running them for themselves, like at the libraries and public land brought back to life in Croxteth by Alt Valley.

“Even in tough times, these sorts of community businesses can transform places which are otherwise in danger of falling into disrepair,” he concluded.

The findings follow a number of reports earlier this year that showed Liverpool were in financial difficulty. At the start of the year, Liverpool City Council announced that job and service cuts were very likely after the authority ruled against holding a referendum on increasing council tax by up to 10%.

And before that, the council had “begged” residents for budget ideas as the mayor admitted it had hit a financial dead end.

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