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Liverpool's managed decline: Tarzan to the rescue?
Tony Mulhearn, Former Liverpool councillor
The campaign built by Liverpool city council in 1983-87 to win extra funding inspired thousands of workers, photo Dave Sinclair (Click to enlarge)
In a breathtaking example of Tory mendacity former 'Minister for Merseyside' Michael Heseltine claims he rescued Liverpool from 'managed decline'.
This fate was proposed by chancellor Geoffrey Howe following the 1981 Toxteth riots, as shown by recently released government archives. But the blunt fact is that the decline continued.
In the two years after the riots not a single house for rent had been built by the Liberal/Tory alliance which controlled the council; council rents were the highest in the UK outside London; 5,000 council jobs had vanished, and some £30 million had been slashed from Liverpool's rate support grant by Heseltine's Thatcher government.
Youth unemployment in some areas of the city was in excess of 50%, and the defeated Liberal/Tory alliance had left behind a financial gap of £10 million pounds of unallocated cuts.
This was the dark scenario inherited by the newly elected socialist Labour council in May 1983.
Unlike the capitulation of today's 'Labour' councillors, that scenario was not used as an excuse for doing nothing, but as a reason for carrying out their election promises by launching a programme of action which included: building houses, freezing rents, creating jobs, expanding services, and opening six new sports centres.
By contrast Heseltine planted hundreds of trees.
If Liverpool's dogs could vote no doubt his Lordship would top the poll.
Liverpool A City that Dared to Fight
Liverpool - A city that Dared to Fight
By Peter Taaffe and Tony Mulhearn
Usually £14.99 - £12.50 including postage to readers of the Socialist
Available from Socialist Books, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD
020 8988 8789
In The Socialist 4 January 2012:
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