Councils gather in Liverpool for spending cuts summit
Council leaders from several major UK cities are gathering in Liverpool to discuss the impact of local government spending cuts.
The summit is being led by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend James Jones.
Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Newcastle and Sheffield will all send representatives to the event.
Critics have said it is "unhelpful political point scoring".
City 'in profit'
Conservative MP for Chester, Stephen Mosely, said: "It is actually not as bad in Liverpool as it is sometimes made out.
"Last year, Liverpool actually made a surplus of £8m. They increased their reserves to £24m last year.
"In plain English, last year Liverpool made a profit of £8m.
"They have still got that money, it is still in the bank, and they should be investing it for the good of local people, rather than simply jumping up and down and complaining."
A council spokesman said the authority had £25m in reserve, which was equal to 5% of its net budget - the minimum amount recommended by public spending watchdog the Audit Commission.
Mr Anderson said: "These are the toughest times ever for local government with unprecedented reductions in funding which will change forever the way in which we deliver services.
He added: "We have a duty to our residents to protest to the government in the strongest possible terms about the impact their cuts are having here and across the rest of the country and get them to sit up and take notice.
"We are demanding the government listens, not just to the politicians, but to our faith representatives who witness the damage being done in our communities every day as a result of the cuts, and that they take notice of the dire situation we are in.
"We will be highlighting how their policies are jeopardising the core services we provide to the most vulnerable in society."
During the summit at the BT Convention Centre, a parliamentary e-petition will be launched calling for the government to urgently rethink its policy and to apply the cuts more fairly across the country.
Attending the event will be:
- Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore and Bishop David Urquhart
- Bristol Mayor George Ferguson and Dean of Bristol, the Very Reverend David Hoyle
- Manchester City Council leader Richard Leese
- Newcastle City Council Leader Nick Forbes and Dean of Newcastle Chris Dalliston
- Sheffield City Council leader Julie Dore and Archdeacon of Sheffield and Rotherham, Martyn Snow