Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson says cuts will 'cause riots'

Joe Anderson Joe Anderson said spending cuts threaten community cohesion

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Government spending cuts will create more riots like those of 2011, the Mayor of Liverpool has warned.

Joe Anderson has made the claim in a letter to the prime minister arguing his city's budget restrictions are too severe.

Mr Anderson said the continuing level of cuts will have a devastating effect on people and businesses.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the city had received money to protect services.

Mr Anderson also called for a meeting with David Cameron at the "earliest opportunity".

His letter comes a week after he announced that Liverpool is to host a cuts summit next month for cities affected by the spending restrictions.

Joe Anderson is an outspoken council leader but this is a particularly stark warning. In effect the mayor is saying the government's cuts will lead to rioting, violence and injury on the streets of Liverpool.

It is true the big cities have been hit hardest by the cuts. This is partly because they are more reliant than other areas on direct government funding, rather than local council tax payers.

But this warning is likely to fizzle out in Downing Street like a badly primed petrol bomb.

The prime minister has made it abundantly clear that he does not believe last year's riots were politically motivated, or indeed influenced by spending cuts.

David Cameron did want strong, outspoken city mayors. He has found one in Joe Anderson.

The mayor's letter to Mr Cameron said the council had cut £141m in the past two years and would have to shed another £143m from its budget over the next four years.

Mr Anderson said he feared the council would not be able to help to vulnerable and desperate people in "some of the most deprived communities, not just in Liverpool but the country".

He wrote: "I believe community cohesion is being seriously threatened by the lack of funding to our city and others."

Mr Anderson added: "I believe that the so-called 'summer-of-discontent' will happen again if we do not address this issue."

'Unfair cuts'

The mayor also said he accepted the country as in a "time of austerity" but he said Liverpool was not being treated fairly.

"What I find very difficult to accept is that while some local authorities are almost being dismantled because the scale of the cuts they are required to make, there are others that are practically no worse off," he added.

A spokesman for the prime minister's office said it would be responding once Mr Cameron had considered the letter.

A DCLG spokesman said: "This year the North West had a total spending power for each household of £2,147 to protect the front-line services people rely on, around £250 more than the average in the South of England.

"The government has supported cities such as Liverpool with their local growth ambitions through its Enterprise Zone, and a City Deal which includes a £75m fund to support economic development."

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