I am working with businesses, insists Liverpool Mayor

On Tuesday Liverpool business leaders Frank McKenna and Bill Addy warned the city council was failing to engage with the private sector and now Mayor Joanne Anderson has responded. Tony McDonough reports

Joanne Anderson
Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson. Picture by Liverpool City Council

 

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson insists she is listening to the concerns of the business community amid another week of turmoil for the city council.

Following the resignation of council chief executive Tony Reeves on Monday, Downtown in Business chief executive Frank McKenna claimed the city had “gone backwards” and that the planning department was in a “zombified state”.

He called on the Government, which has already sent in commissioners, to stage a stronger intervention to halt what he called “mismanaged decline”.

“The business community, which enjoyed a strong relationship with the council and had built positive partnerships with the authority prior to the commissioners taking over, has been ignored,” he added.

Liverpool BID Company chief executive, Bill Addy also warned the city could not be “left to drift” and needed to be seen as “a viable place for investors”. He urged the commissioners to communicate more with the private sector.

In response Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson acknowledged the city still had many issues to resolve but added that “only listening to the loudest voices usually isn’t the best way forward”.

She said: “Serious issues have been revealed at Liverpool City Council, and the cabinet and I believe that the situation required a significant response.

“Last year, the council began its improvement plan which would seek to overhaul the way parts of the council function in order to restore the confidence of residents and businesses. Things simply had to change – and they still do.

“We are on a transformation journey, and major reforms and restructures are an important part of that journey. I will always make the difficult decisions that I feel are right for our city. For me, this has also meant reworking the way the council engages and consults with the people it serves.

“I have and continue to work with the business community, listening to and supporting their ideas. However, I am proud to be doing things differently than in years gone by, recognising that only listening to the loudest voices usually isn’t the best way forward.

“As Mayor, I have fostered new relationships with businesses, leaders and investors – locally and globally – who are excited by the city’s new, refreshed and transparent approach to business.

“While it may not be ‘business as usual’, I’m confident that it is business that is better.”

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