Jeremy Corbyn’s “soft spot” for Southport sees him keen to restore the town’s fortunes.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has met with Southport business leaders to discuss how best to regenerate the town before then going walkabout along Lord St.
The politician was joined by Labour’s Southport Parliamentary Candidate, Liz Savage, along with Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Sefton Council Leader Ian Maher for the roundtable table talks which were held at Remedy Cafe and Gin Bar in the town centre.
Remedy co-owner Susannah Porter, was one of the local business people giving a Southport perspective of what needs to be done, along with Norman Wallis of Southport Pleasureland, Agnes Ng of Dukes Folly Hotel, and Yvonne Burns, manager of Wayfarers Arcade.
Liz Savage says the talks focussed on what needs to be done and how Labour can help now and in the future with a Labour government elected:
“It was great to hear from people who like ourselves have a real passion and hope for Southport. It was a very positive meeting and Jeremy loved engaging with local business and hearing what they think is needed.”
“Obviously, there are problems such as the effect of Tory and Lib Dem austerity; high business rates; changes in retail and pension funds and the like sitting on empty properties in town that at present we have little control over.”
“We can only really tackle those once in government but we also talked through how Labour via the local authority, the Metro Mayor and our local councillors are doing all they can with the resources they have now and about how local business can work with them to take Southport forward.”
Remedy’s Susannah Porter felt the meeting showed how everyone around the table wanted the very best for the town:
“I found it really heartening that there was such a positive direction to it, far too often we hear and see politicians here doing little but talking Southport down when what they should be doing is talking it up and then working constructively to find solutions to any problems that there are.”
“That’s exactly what this meeting did though and it was a refreshing change I have to say.”
The Labour leader also met with the chief executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, Silas Nicholls, to discuss local health issues and to hear his support for Liz Savage’s Walk-In Centre Campaign for the town.
Labour’s Liz says problems with social care were highlighted as a real concern:
“We discussed the changing health needs of Southport and how it’s expected a third of Southport’s population will be of retirement age in 10 years. Social care problems are already a huge issue locally and of great concern to Silas, his team, and ourselves.”
“We then talked about my campaign for a Walk-in Centre in Southport and I was pleased that Silas once again gave that his backing. We really need to ease the pressure on our hard-pressed A&E.”
“He also made clear that in his view a new hospital is required and I was just as clear that Southport needs to retain its hospital to deal adequately with future health needs.”
Afterwards, the Labour leader was also keen to walk down Lord St to meet local residents and visitors to the town before heading into a packed main ballroom at the Prince of Wales Hotel to speak party members and activists, Liz Savage revealed:
“Jeremy has a soft spot for Southport, it’s the third time he’s been here in the last couple of years and at the last Labour Party conference he told me he was really keen to walk down Lord St next time.”
“Now he’s seen it and is suitably impressed, though he also couldn’t fail to notice the effect the problems we’d been discussing earlier and nine years of Tory and Lib Dem austerity have made to here.”
“That though that just makes him and us all the more determined to restore Southport’s fortunes and rebuild our services and our communities across the country and given the opportunity, we will do it.”