Frank Field MP
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Committee has laid foundations for major public overhaul

Last Thursday, I chaired the second meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee.

We are laying the foundations for what could turn out to be a major overhaul of public spending here in Birkenhead.

We now know that 15 public bodies – including the council, Jobcentre Plus, the NHS and the police – spend between them maybe up to £3bn in Wirral each year. It might even be more. And what do they expect from this money?

The committee is seeking assistance to understand this budget and how it breaks down between each of the four constituencies.

This is a massive task. We agreed last week that we should begin looking at all the expenditure from different sources on children before they begin school.

There will then of course be a totally different exercise on what mothers and fathers think of these services, where they were strong, and how they can be improved.

To help us in this task of trying to analyse 15 national budgets spent locally, we will be looking to the University of Liverpool for some statistical expertise.

We must make sure the data we begin to add together is consistent so we can get some meaningful returns.

This work will also feed into other projects crucial to the council managing budgets when central government has wiped out more than a third of our grant.

Our local council is right to prioritise the first – or foundation – years of life. All the major studies show that it is very difficult to equalise life chances once children reach school.
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