Wirral Councillor demands tax freeze as “parents cannot feed their children” due to cost of living crisis

Wirral Council’s leader has declared a cost of living emergency and demanded £3.3 million from the government to immediately freeze all council tax in the borough.

In a letter to the Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi, Cllr Janette Williamson said the money was urgently needed to halt any increases in council tax for all residents and support people through the winter. She also said the way government funding is given to councils needs to be reviewed as residents need help straight away.

The Labour leader of the council said: “We need this funding to help our residents through this cost-of-living emergency. The current funding is only just scratching the surface. We need more, and we need it now.”

In the letter, she went on to say: “This week I have been speaking to families who cannot afford to put food on the table, workers who are already having to miss meals because their wages don’t last until pay day, and parents who are serving up cold meals because they are worried about putting the cooker on.

“That’s before we get to the older people who are terrified they won’t be able to keep the lights on this winter, let alone the heating.”

Cllr Williamson said food-bank use had increased by 11% in Wirral, with 3000 children using the service and some residents now worried they may lose their homes. She also said reviewing government funding would show “this government is serious about helping those who need it most.”

Wirral Council leader Janette Williamson. Image: LDRS

Earlier this week, Councillor Williamson said: “This is the biggest crisis I have witnessed personally and as a politician. I have had residents sobbing on the phone because they cannot feed themselves or cannot feed their children. I have never witnessed such a crisis of this scale.

Councillor Williamson said Wirral Council is doing all it can to support people who are struggling. In the letter, she pointed to examples such as £1.6 million that went to support hungry kids over the school holidays.

She insists this is not enough. She said: “We are trying to mitigate that emergency as best we can but 12 years of government cutbacks have meant that just as the worst cost of living squeeze in decades has arrived at our door, we are in the most difficult position in terms of being able to protect people from its ravages.”

The council leader said Conservative government policy cuts were the reason the council cannot fully support people at this time. In the letter, she claims Wirral Council has lost £224 million since 2010 and said “cutbacks to vital local government services were akin to stripping the roof while a storm gathered on the horizon.

In the letter, Councillor Williamson praised the work of people in the Wirral saying: “We are an area with strong communities. People do what they can to help each other.”