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Liverpool to be partly run from Westminster after ‘serious breakdown of governance’

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Liverpool City Council is going to be partly run by Government commissioners after a “serious breakdown of governance”, it was announced today.

The Communities Secretary is sending in officials to oversee some of the Labour-run council’s activities for the next three years.

Robert Jenrick announced the measures in the Commons on Wednesday, saying: “Expressed in formal terms, I am satisfied that the council is failing to comply with its best value duty. Therefore, I need to consider exercising my powers of intervention to secure compliance with the duty.

“To that end, in line with the procedures laid down in the Local Government Act 1999, I am writing today to the council asking them to make representations both on the Inspectorate’s report and on a proposed intervention package.

“This package is centred on putting in place commissioners who I will appoint to exercise certain and limited functions of the council as required for a minimum of three years.”

The move came after the publication of a report by Max Caller, a local government inspector who was called in to Liverpool in December by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for the MHCLG.

The focus of Mr Caller’s investigation is on property management, regeneration, highways, contracts and planning at the council over the past five years, which has seen a building boom in Liverpool city centre.

The council’s director of regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, was also arrested as part of the police probe into building and development contracts in the city and this week it was confirmed he had been dismissed from his role at the authority.

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Both he and Mr Anderson deny any wrongdoing and have vowed to clear their names.

Merseyside Police said all suspects remain under investigation but bail has not been extended while their enquiries continue.

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