Friday, 13 June 2008




At a time when liverpool city council have to close down front line services, close elderly homes, sack homecarers, give our housing stock away, make another thousand council workers redundant and make savings of £62 Milion, Colin Hilton the man who has been charged with making these savings, spends £1/4 Million on a head hunting mission that is against the standing orders of the same Liverpool City Council, that we the people of Liverpool, pay him to uphold!

See below for the full story courtesey of LIVERPOOL SUBCULTURE

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just when you thought it had all gone quiet....another leaked report on Colin Cover Up

Chief executive Colin Cover Up has repeatedly broken the city council's own rules to appoint squads of headhunters - at a staggering cost to council taxpayers of more than £500,000.

That's the damning conclusion of an internal audit report into the appointment of Executive recruitment agencies, which has been leaked from a meeting of Cover Up's own Executive Management Team.

And it also warns that the city council may have acted illegally in their appointment procedure for a new City Solicitor, because it broke the council's own rules.

(Illegally appointing the top legal eagle, eh? You couldn't make this stuff up! eds)

The report accuses Cover Up, aka the £250,000-a-year Mr Hilton, CBE, and his team of highly paid Executive Directors, of breaking the council's own rules in engaging agencies to fill top positions.

It tells how the city council has engaged two recruitment agencies Veredus and Gatenby Sanderson since April 2006 at a mind-boggling cost of £445,000.

Veredus were originally taken on to handle the appointment of two senior positions in the Regeneration portfolio.

The leaked report says:
"But it appears that another portfolio has used their services without following the quotation procedures. In 2006/7 a total of £208K was paid to Veredus with £39K being paid to them in 2007/8."

(What? The worst council in the country forked out a quarter of a million quid to headhunters to fill just three posts? Are they certifiably insane? eds)
The leaked report says that Gatenby Sanderson were also taken on to recruit four 'executive positions', but:

"they have been used to fill at least one additional position for which quotation procedures were not followed. Having spent £53K on Gatenby Sanderson in 2006/7, a futher £145K was spent in 2007/8."

(This is mind-blowing. Are they totally out of control and above their own law? eds)

Hilton again failed to obey proper procedures when he appointed yet another recruitment agency, Rockpools to handle the appointment of a new City Solicitor (in a failed attempt to replace Ken Unworthy - but that's another story, eds)

The cost of that has yet to emerge but easily takes the total bill past half a million smackeroos....

The picture painted by the report is of Cover Up lolloping around the Municipal Buildings doling out public money here there and everywhere, without so much as a by-your-leave.

And breaking every council rule in the book into the bargain.

Presumably the Fireman was on a freebie in Las Vegas at the time, or making a speech about how things have got so much better in the last ten years?

The council's Standing Orders say that for expenditure below £100,000, three separate quotes need to be obtained.

Hilton routinely ignored this and gave away contracts to recruitment agencies without following established rules and procedures.

We wonder how many other contracts he has given away and to whom?

The internal report says that the 'three quotes' rule must be obeyed except in emergencies, or where competitive prices cannot be obtained.

It adds:

"In such circumstances it is the Head of Corporate Procurement who decides whether the procurement can be made, not the the Chief Officer (Cover Up)."

In other words, Cover Up old fruit, you exceeded your authority well and truly - do not overstep the mark again. Shades of the evil Sir Diddy, aka Sir David Henshaw.

(Editor's Note: What should happen now, of course, is that Hilton should summon himself to his own office in the Municipal Buildings and read himself a letter, from himself, suspending himself from duty, pending an investigation into these 'procurement irregularities.'

Then, in the time honoured tradition, he should strip himself of his mobile phone, blackberry and council pass; force himself to empty all the council paper clips from the pocket of his smoking jacket and then escort himself off the premises past his open-mouthed colleagues.

He should only pause on the way out, as he passes the rottweiller McElhinney's Jaguar, to quietly advise himself "not to let this drag out, in your own interests."

Then he should ban himself from talking to any of his colleagues, speaking to the media, or visiting any council premises.

He should send himself threatening letters hand-delivered by taxi-courier to his own home late at night, summon himself for medical examinations on a whim and carry out an extraordinary campaign of harassment and attempted intimidation against himself.

If Cover Up thought any of these corporate bully-boy tactics were part of an incredible abuse of power and morally indefensible, he could always start his own blog, or something, to expose those responsible - ie, himself.

But of course, none of that could possibly happen in Liverpool. It would be utterly unthinkable.

Although it would make a suitably surreal plot for our colleague, Prof Chucklebutty.)

Meanwhile, the internal leaked report concludes:

"EMT are reminded that the Contract Standing Orders apply to all officers and must not be circumvented under any circumstances."

Interesting choice of word.

The Executive Management Team are then advised to "consider their position" (some cheeky auditor's invitation for them to resign, eds) "in relation to the City Solicitor Post given that the Contract Standing Orders have not been followed in procuring the services of Rockpools."

What all this means is that Cover Up has been astonishingly reckless with public money, wasting hundreds of thousands of pounds of council taxpayers dosh and flagrantly breaking all council rules into the bargain.

And he will brazen the whole thing out with no action being taken against him by the weak and cowardly Lib Dims. Perhaps Cover Up will, however, order a leak inquiry? He has it all to do now.

So an everyday story for the city council, then.

Memo to the city council leak machine: Thanks very much for leaking this report - it confirms our worst suspicions - and we know there is more still to come. If you would care to provide further detail about the other sensational matters mentioned in previous missives, we will be happy to reproduce them here in full for our adoring public. However, can we make a special request? The latest leak passed to us was on a single A4 sheet of paper - that's the ideal length, because we are extremely busy with other matters at the moment and we can't be arsed ploughing through the usual council report gobbledegook of 97 pages of tedium. Keep the next few leaks similarly short and snappy and to the point. You can email further leaks to, or, or Any of those will get to the right people one way or another. Ta very much.

Monday, 6 August 2007













Demand for new probe into Mathew Street Festival 'shambles'

Aug 6 2007

by Caroline Innes, Liverpool Daily Post

Cllr Paul Brant

A LEADING councillor last night called for an independent investigation into the cancellation of the Mathew Street Festival, claiming that the council’s own inquiry was unsatisfactory.

Liverpool City Council’s Labour’s deputy leader, Cllr Paul Brant, who has already called for council leader Warren Bradley to quit over the fiasco, said the council’s investigation was not independent and would not provide “ a full and frank disclosure of the facts.”

His comments came as Cllr Bradley was due to return from a holiday. He has vowed to rescue the annual festival.

A detailed plan for its resurrection is expected to be made public this week, possibly as early as today.

Outrage reverberated across Merseyside last week after the event was cancelled just three weeks before it was due to go ahead.

A leading expert on health and safety, brought in just over a week ago to examine arrangements, advised Liverpool’s Culture Company and the city council to walk away from the event on health and safety grounds.

Now Cllr Brant said the city council must take responsibility for their role in the “embarrassing situation” and ensure a totally independent inquiry was held to help restore faith in Liverpool’s administration.

He warned that failure to do so would not only permanently damage the city’s reputation but could impact on private sector confidence in the Capital of Culture year.

He said: “They tell us that the investigation into how we ended up in this shambles is going to be conducted by council chief executive Colin Hilton. That is not independent.

It does not seem right, in fact it stinks.

“We will never get a full and frank disclosure of the facts unless a totally independent investigator is brought in.

“We need to restore Liverpool’s reputation and faith in the people who run this city.”

Campaigners for an elected mayor for Liverpool also warned that while the festival could be salvaged, the city council’s credibility could not.

The chairman of, Liam Fogarty, added: “Council leaders have shown themselves to be both powerless and clueless when it matters most.

“ The people of Liverpool won’t forget this shameful fiasco in a hurry.

“Town hall spin that the council is now riding to the rescue should fool no-one.

“While the Culture Company has behaved disgracefully, the council cannot pretend it has had nothing to do with this is utter nonsense.

“Councillors Warren Bradley and Mike Storey sit on the company board.

“Liverpool council tax payers are bankrolling the Culture Company and council employees have been transferred wholesale to its Millennium House headquarters.

“The company is the council’s creation. To all intents and purposes, the Culture Company and the council are one and the same.

“People need to be reminded that Jason Harborow (chief executive of the Culture Company) was recently appointed as the city council’s executive director for culture, media and sport.

“A few resignations won’t restore the council’s credibility. Nor will it heal our city’s damaged reputation.”

  • READ more news from the Liverpool Daily Post

  • Talks start to save Mathew Street Festival

    Aug 6 2007

    by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo

    Leader of Liverpool City Council, Cllr Warren Bradley

    TOP LEVEL talks were taking place today in a bid to save the Mathew Street festival.

    Council leader Warren Bradley was due to meet Culture Company officials this morning to try to thrash out a compromise, which could see some of the outdoor events survive.

    The ECHO understands he was hoping to make an announcement this afternoon, when the future of Europe’s biggest free music festival would become clearer.

    Cllr Bradley’s rescue plan involves shelving the event’s outdoor alcohol licence to stop revellers drinking in the streets, although pubs and clubs would still be allowed to serve booze.

    It has yet to be seen whether this would be enough to overcome the significant health and safety concerns raised by an independent firm, which led to the festival’s outdoor elements being cancelled last week.

    Cllr Bradley was also due to meet representatives of festival founders Cavern City Tours, who have been working with the ECHO to find venues for bands due to play on the outdoor stages.

    Today’s meetings will also spark the start of an internal inquiry at the council into the circumstances surrounding the festival’s sudden cancellation last Thursday.

    Senior councillors and Culture Company board members claim they were completely unaware that the event was in jeopardy until the last minute.

    Some did not find out it was being axed until they saw ECHO headlines on Thursday afternoon.

    Other politicians believe a council investigation is not enough and want a fully independent, external inquiry.

    Cllr Paul Brant, deputy opposition leader, said: “Liverpool’s reputation has been dragged through the mud and jobs and investment will be lost due to this incompetence.

    “It is important we are open and honest about this issue, otherwise confidence in the city’s ability to deliver 2008 will be dented.”

  • READ more news from the Liverpool Echo


    Thursday, 2 August 2007









    Mathew Street cancelled
    Council pulls plug on Europe's biggest street party in city's 800th birthday year

    From humble beginnings in the 1980s, with a bit of a Beatles auction, and a do at the Cavern, The Mathew Street Festival has mushroomed in size and ambition.

    By last year it had become �Europe's biggest street party�, attracting 100,000 people, with big name acts on big stages, and everyone looked forward to letting their hair down on the last holiday of summer.

    But today, in Liverpool's 800th birthday year, when it should have been grander and more ambitious than ever, Mathew Street Festival has been called off.

    The decision to pull the plug follows independent advice from London health and safety consultants Capita Symonds, employed by the Liverpool Culture Co, who highlighted the loss of the Pier Head (see Not Strictly Confidential earlier this week) and the building site that is Liverpool city centre as a major factor in the decision.

    Merseyside Police are, unsurprisingly, backing the decision (see same story), saying that his reduction in capacity, combined with huge crowds in an open, licensed environment, means there is a significant safety risk to the public. The detailed planning for the event, and discussions between the city council, police and safety officials, cannot fully eliminate the risk, they said in a statement.

    Jason Harborow, chief executive of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: �In many ways, the Mathew Street Festival has become a victim of its own success this year. The huge growth in the popularity of the festival, combined with the loss of the Pier Head, presented us with a massive problem.�

    The council, in a statement, says: �Staff worked right to the 11th hour to try and produce a workable plan which could accommodate the festival in the city centre.�

    Eleventh hour indeed. Just yesterday a tender document went out for pa and lighting companies to pitch for the festival, taking place in under four weeks time, with a deadline of today.

    Many thousands of people around the world are bound to be disappointed, including acts booked from as far away as Japan.

    �I'm absolutely devastated, it's one of the best days out! there isn't a better way to spend the August Bank Holiday,� said the far-more-local Manchester-based Kelly Ormesher, a regular reveller whose friends travel from all over the UK to the event.

    In a statement, the Culture Company says: �The advice relates specifically to the unique conditions surrounding the staging of the Mathew Street Festival this year, and does not affect the city�s ability to stage other large-scale events.�

    Well what do you think? Let us know below.

    Mathew Street says.." You just couldn't make it up, could you. I'm utterly flabbergasted. The thousands of people who must be wholeheartedly fed up by this piss up in brewery council by now. They should take it back to basics and let the cavern run it and the beatles anoraks. Utterly astounded"

    john lennon airport says.." Did they not see this coming ages ago? The city is a complete building site and the Pier Head event was never seriously a go-er so why wait until the coaches are all booked to cancel. It's 2008 in just a few months too. Hello-o!"

    Murph says.." Pity our so-called Council Leader Warren Bradley is more interested in where Everton Football Club play their football than in how the City is being run. Another chance for outsiders to have a laugh at us!! "

    Anonymous says.." Utterly devo'd. this is a day that most merseysiders look forward to all year. surely we'll have to get this sorted for the capital of culture? how can we host an event such as that if we can't even have one of liverpool's most important cultural events??!"

    Anonymous says.." Typical - capital of culture my arse!"

    Anonymous says.." To quote your story: "The advice relates specifically to the unique conditions surrounding the staging of the Mathew Street Festival this year, and does not affect the city�s ability to stage other large-scale events.� Well we'll just have to wait and see. I think they've run out of their nine lives now"

    canthelastoneoutturnthelightoff says.." just about sums up the real aspirations, COC have really jumped on the back of all the established great events we already have and seem to ruin them. Behind the H+S nonsense is that they dont have any money. Oh well there's always the street parties they have been pushing. "

    The O says.." As an LCC employee I'm embarrassed. How many people globally have this booked. Not something that you kinda book on a whim from abroad is it."

    the laughing manc says.." "Welcome to It's Cockup...wait a miniute I think Liverpool is about to play it's Joker!-yes here comes Warren now""

    mart says.." Advised by cockneys, run by cockneys, no local involvement from backstage to butty vans, even the local band stage is small and under advertised, disgusting, the people should get together and make it happen, how about seffie park, princes park, or the old docks come on sort it out"

    Australian Pink Floyd says.." Step forward Chas Cole!!"

    Little Englander says.." Once again the English are denied the right to enjoy themselves on the grounds that they might get hurt, If the same principle was applied in 1944 we would now be using the German language, it's not surprising that the politicised police Force (sorry "Service") are backing the ban. Get out there and have a party regardless, it's your right. "

    Anonymous says.." Noooo!We look forward to this every year.Health and Safety gone mad."

    Albert Dock says.." "Advised by cockneys, run by cockneys"! Exactly! The people responsible for these cock-ups have no sense of embarrassment or shame. Who cam blame them? By the time the latest disaster in investigated, the culprits are miles away in even better-paid jobs, or out of political office or with a suitcase full of public money. "

    Ian Hamilton Fazey says.." So how much were these London-based health & safety consultants paid to tell the council this? Did they consult the Director of Public Health of the political and economic consequences of shooting yourself in the foot? (No point in shooting yourself in the head of course it has no effect on the gormless). "

    fat git says.." Who hasn't fallen over and injured themselves after a few to many shandies in the Harrington on Mathew Street Festival day? No pain, no gain."

    Sefton Park says.." I think it is high time that Crown Prince Harpik was put in charge of the City Council. Crank he might be, but he couldn�t do any worse than this current shower of blockheads, he looks better and he�d certainly be a lot cheaper!"

    Lao Hugong says.." Me flabber is well and truly ghasted.......Has anyone been sacked yet? For 20+ years Bill Heckle, Dave Jones and a disparate group of buddies staged the event along with the annual Beatles Convention shindig, organising it from a ramshackle office in North John Street and attracting 250,000 people every year.... at least. Now that the so proclaimed 'professionals' are wheeled in - its cancelled!! As was the River Festival - another 20 year long tradition - and the Shanty Festival, after ten years. And who knows what else? All the city will be left with is a bit of tacky bunting flying in the wind with kids half heartedly waving balloons...If it wasn't so bleeding tragic I'd be cheering and weeping at the same time..... "

    Andy says.." As spectacular an own goal as trying to get rid of the Gormleys. "

    V. I. Lenin Airport says.." Comrades! It is time we marched on the Town Hall and threw these running dogs and capitalist lackeys into the gutter where they belong! (With any luck this revolution might be televised so the outside world will realise that we�re not just a town of thick footie fans after all!) "

    Andy says.." What a big disappointments. It�s very sad. This should have been decided months ago, but as usual it�s all last minute. It�s very embarrassing for Liverpool especially when we are capital of culture in 2008. WHAT A JOKE"

    Sir Bob Scott says.." Why do you think that I got out?"

    Robyn Archer says.." ...and me, cobber"

    David Henshaw says.." ...and me"

    Tom O'Brien says..", me too"

    Charlie Parker says.." ..don't forget me!"

    Pr. Luminitsa Neagra says.." I agree with 'Sefton Park'. Crown Prince Harpik� for Leader! With my lawyer's head on, I hope all the Japanese, US and German tourists who have booked their extortionate high season air fares and hotel rooms take out a class action law suit against the loblollies and mimsy hens who are supposedly running this farrago of a Culture Company and sue them into London 2012 (where they've already applied for overpaid jobs). As we say in the Dark Lands: get thee hence, thou feeble minded, yellow-streaked, moonstruck traffic wardens!"

    Cilla says.." I've lived in Berkshire for over 40 years."

    V. I. Lenin Airport says.." Perhaps all the disappointed Mathew Street Festival fans ought to turn up on Tuesday instead for Liverpool�s 800th Birthday official celebration? (Not that I am suggesting they phone in sick, descend en masse and gatecrash the VIPs' junket, drink the champagne and canap�s they have paid for, or anything like that�) After all, �Councillor Mike Storey, a teacher, who is off anyway, said: �We want as many people as possible to take part in the festivities.�� We mustn�t disappoint the shaggy-haired schoolmaster. "

    fanaticalrebel says.." Well that ain't no surprise. cancel it in case someone slips up on the councils complete inability to organise something they have swanned in and taken over for their own means. Bradley, up against the wall you pirate you. Lets march. lets fight, lets all go to Manchester next year!"

    Andy says.." Rant? What's the use, time to DO something. These democratically elected councillors are to blame for humiliating the city. Their telephone numbers should be in the public domain and available freely on the Liverpool City Council website. Bombard them with your thoughts by text. It worked with Sefton Council during the Gormleys fiasco. Do it NOW."

    Anonymous says.." I love the way Jase blames MSF for getting too big - "a victim of its own success". Nice. What a cock up."

    Annoyed says.." Contact details of Liverpool City Councillors here:"

    Mikel says.." Wrong! Your obviously a Liverpool fan that never graces Anfield (Plasma HD Ready supporter) - hence the bitterness towards Everton! This is about Health & Safety and the 'Claim-Culture' that has enveloped Scousers' - you're probably one of them!!! "

    Lee Forde says.." Mwahahahahaha! Another four beers and a large kebab please"

    Anonymous says.." I, like many others, am gutted and bitterly disappointed. It doesn't make any sense to cancel at this late date. Listening to Radio Merseyside's Roger Phillips show now - lot's of disgruntled people phoning in"

    Pete Price says.." No change there then"

    Newsham Park says.." "Murph says.." Pity our so-called Council Leader Warren Bradley is more interested in where Everton Football Club play their football than in how the City is being run. Another chance for outsiders to have a laugh at us!! "" - Hear hear! His job is to run the city for its citizens, not to be skiving and faffing about in work time about where some millionaires are going to play with their balls."

    Jazzman says.." Quite right! Action speaks louder than words. But the words (above)...."Culture, my arse"...come across loud and clear!"

    Capita Symonds says.." That's what you wanted us to say, isn't it?"

    Saucy Jack says.." Never mind. You can all lean out of your office windows on Aug 28 and watch the sports day in old hall street. Who will win the sacking race: Jason Harbarow?"

    Jobsworth says.." Leaning out of windows is against health and safety regulations"

    Dave says.." on Manchester Confidential they have the same story but with the headline "Liverpools F***s up again!", a nice piece of unbiased reporting."

    Calder Stones says.." The French take to the streets at times like this. Revolution. Why don't we demand the resignation of the whole Council - and most certainly the whole of the Culture Company? Why not. There are more of us than them. "

    Pyromaniac says.." I hope they put on a firework display instead. We've not had one for days."

    Hen Henderson says.." Yes saw the Manchester Confidential thing too, and it was a bit of a shock, but then I thought, that's unfortunately what it looks like, isn't it? to outsiders. Are they wrong? No. And all thanks to these tossers at the Culture Co. "

    Pyromaniac's mum says.." Do you think they'll be trusted with a box of fireworks? What will Capita Symonds say to that. Or will we only find out the day before?"

    Pyromaniac says.." Sorry Mum. Jase told me to say it. "

    Charlotte Street says.." "Calder Stones says.." The French take to the streets at times like this. Revolution. Why don't we demand the resignation of the whole Council - and most certainly the whole of the Culture Company? Why not. There are more of us than them. "" Resignation? They deserve to be thrown out of their plush offices to the Mob and have their arses kicked until they burst. Hanging's too good for them."

    Anonymous says.." Manchester Confidential F**ks Up How funny you report the story so differently in the Manchester edition. (See I subscribe to both Manchester and Liverpool confidential and would expect better than this shoddy headline grabbing, journalism from the team at confidential. Clearly revelling in this event, which is very worrying for Liverpool's residents and business owners, and referring to Liverpool as "Manchester's hapless neighbour", will I am sure delight your advertisers and subscribers in Liverpool confidential. I would urge Liverpool confidential subscribers and advertisers to remove their subscriptions and business from your two-faced, "hapless" publication. "

    Anonymous says.." Are they wrong?"

    Phil McCracken says.." When the Beatles released'Fixing A Hole'in 1967 were they talking about The Big Dig?"

    telly head says.." I think most people in Manchester want Liverpool to be a success at the end of the day. But the people running the city always actually do seem to **** up good style and you can't get paranoid about it when someone from outside says so.It's gonna happen."

    Anonymous says.." Why am I not surprised? I mean why would we want to preserve one of the most popular and eagerly anticipated events in Liverpool when we could plant trees on Edge Lane or dig up more pavements in Church Street? Why celebrate one of the most compelling thing about Liverpool, the thriving musical culture. Here you go have a card which allows you to get the S1/S2 buses free.....but to where exactly? Let's sell one of the few remaining Victorian parks in Liverpool to a football club, even though the land was granted in perpetuality to the people of Liverpool. Ohh don't forget the fireworks and most importantly of the civic parade proudly displaying the individuals who are responsible for this farcical, I mean fantastic events for the 08 celebrations. Capital of Culture my........! "

    Wapping says.." How much worse would it be without the Pier Head stages? Not much I think. surely the local bands in local bars aspect can go ahead. In fact it probably can't be stopped. (I hope)"

    Anonymous says.." I am rather dissapointed at the pathetic attention grabbing headline from manchester confidential, I work in Manchester but choose to live in Liverpool as I find it a city with a lot more soul and heart, shame on you this is a time when you shoudl stand by your merseysiders. I think right from the word go I could see that the council would manage to cock the COC up as with working on the arts at the time there was no real plan in place at the time of winning and even now they are STILL not clear of the plan. The COC is something that Liverpool has needed for a while its justa shame the council are ruining all what is cultural about the city beforehand. Manchester this is not a time for a gloating at Liverpool, but a time to show a bit of empathy."

    Andy M says.." Manchester Confidential and Liverpool Confidential are entirely separate and independent publications and can say and do as they please. This is not a state run Monopoly. "

    rancidcity says.." oh no not again...liverpool really is a place to look for how not to do things. How come it has only just been realised that the pier head is a mess, the plans have been in place for about 4 years. but what about using st george's that has been used in the past anyway i hope everyone looks forward to the council tax rising while the corrupt people who have destroyed liverpool for over 50 years line thier pockets with 2008 loot No wonder everyone laughs at scousers you are useless at eveything you touch due to local corruption bickering football obsessed councillors"

    Chris Paul says.." Bradley and the Doddy impersonator before him have been DESPERATE. Everyone in Manchester (well almost) wishes Liverpool well but you'll have to vote out these clowns to get anywhere at all. You know? Go to the polls. Don't vote Lib Dem. Vote Labour. Hatton and Co were a disgrace too but that's all water under the bridges. Chuck Bradley and Storey into the Albert Dock. Get a new broom."

    Paul Pauls says.." Hear hear. "

    Anonymous says.." Andy M - Weird how the image and design layout of the two articles are exactly the same for two independent publications. Hmmm..."

    Edward Woodward says.." Put the lot of the Culture Co and the Council in the Wicker Man"

    JESS says.." What a farce i have to put up with all the football crap all year round and the festival is the one time i am gauranteed a good few days. I cant belieive that other large shows will be held ( money) i have visitors staying with us just for the festival what a farce"

    Anonymous says.." "Chuck Bradley and Storey into the Albert Dock. Get a new broom." . Hear hear! Appoint Crown Prince Harpik! He was one of the founders of the original Mathew Street Festival in the late 1970s when the Council refused to recognise that the Beatles had ever existed. "

    rancid city says.." What a shame Jess, but im sure that if they really are friends they will enjoy staying with you... If not poison their food "

    Vim says.." Harpik, where are you??"

    fat git says.." I've been on incapacity benefit for 20 years and was meant to be doing a gig on Mathew Street (the invisible Beatles). Now I'll have to go to our kid's street party instead but there will be no money in it. I was hoping to fall down a hole so I could sue the bastards. Anyone know of any good bus crashes (two grand for whiplash)."

    Russell Grant says.." heads will roll, you mark my words"

    Calder Stones says.." Hang on a minute....the article above states that "...Just yesterday a tender document went out for pa and lighting companies to pitch for the festival..." This is MORE than odd. Yesterday??? I suspect a smoke screen. A cover up. Health and saftey? Whose? Once again, back pockets, brown paper envelopes, reciprocal back-scratching... There is a loop here. And it needs to be broken. Action. Action. Action. Come on fellow Scousers...this is what we're REALLY good at. But who will organise this action? And when? Perhaps before 2008?"

    Jazzman says.." Who at the Culture Company/Council (same thing!) took the initiative to contact Capita Symonds ? Why this particular company? Why should they assist in the decision to cancel the festival as opposed to a local company - who might have argued to let it go ahead!!! Come on people - we demand accountability. Who knows someone at this particular company? Who made the phone call, who sent the email? How much are the company being paid? Who is paying?"

    ANTHONY H WILSON says.." LIVERPOOL F**KS UP AGAIN That's the headline on the Manchester Confidential version of this story and I think it's disgusting. I would urge all readers to look at it. It descibes us as "MANCHESTER'S HAPLESS NEIGHBOUR CITY" and suggests that it's readers might find the cancellation of the Mathew Street Festival funny. The same organisation that is the self declared "voice of Liverpool" is laughing about it behind their hands. "

    ANTHONY H WILSON says.." M last comment was deleted criticising the Manchester confidential's version of the events. I've reposted it but it probably will be again. READ THE "MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL" VERSION OF THIS STORY!!"

    andy m says.." sorry Anthony, technical problem. All comments welcome.."

    Anonymous says.." According to tonight's Echo Liverpool's peerless collection of public statues, (in particular equestrian statues) is being allowed to rot away because the present council would rather spend the European Culture money on lunches and junkets. 'Capital of Culture' indeed!"

    Roadender says.." For all you who voted Liberal stand back and take a look at the mess you have caused."

    Lord Street says.." Dear Mr. Wilson, The Manchester Confidential article is quite correct. I am a lifelong Liverpudlian, not some incomer riding on a tide of property speculation, and it�s about time a list of the cultural crimes of the Liverpool City Council was posted. Liverpool Confidential and Manchester Confidential take the trouble at least to differentiate between the Council , the city, the people, the football club and the tired, insulting, clich�d, stereotype of Liverpudlians, something with which the national media have great difficulty. Are you the same �Anthony H. Wilson� who publicly slagged off Liverpool and Liverpudlians ALL his broadcasting life until a couple of years ago? I couldn't believe my ears when in a Radio 4 interview, an �Anthony H. Wilson� actually praised Liverpool and the "great people" in charge who were going to "turn it around". Unfortunately these great people were those bickering clowns "Sir" David Henshaw and Mike 'Horror' Storey who brought embarrassment and disgrace on the place. Still twisting the knife then, Tony old lad? "

    Wapping says.." What's worst thing of all about the manchesterconfidential article is that it's mostly true. *toes grip floor*"

    Carol Turner says.." I dont know what they are on about, Im a regular shopper in town and I cant see any problem, we've put up with all the building work for months now, and Ive not heard of any accidents etc I bet they want the money for themselves!"

    Wapping says.." Just noticed a BBC report that they were looking for alternative locations for the big stages in March though they knew the Pier Head wouldn't be available even as last year's show was going on. Maybe Summer Pops gave them cold feet? Glad I live here and haven't booked time off w*rk, travel and accommodation."

    sweetie says.." Yes I agree what a farce, was looking forward to all my family going, we all enjoy the day it was great and now they've taken it away from us :-("

    annie says.." why do they have to do this, it was a great family day out, and somewhere to go on a bank holiday before the kids go back to school. I bet they want to keep the money for themselves, cos they could have put something else on instead, in another part of liverpool, tight ar..."

    sweetie says.." well I hope they read all of this and see how angry people are!"

    Jess says.." Hello me again i work in the town centre and i am sick of people saying " call this the capital of culture" how can i reply after this fiasco think of next year when people do not arrive because of this i am proud of my city "

    Judy Finnegan says.." "Anthony H", it's great that you finally, finally, regard yoursef as a scouser with your "us" remark. The drugs DO WORK!!!!!"

    anne field says.." This is a good thing the festival is just an excuse for getting drunk and creating havoc, in previous years there have been countless amounts oof trouble and also the mess the streets are left in is a disgrace, it would be good to see the people of liverpool putting the same amount of effort in to getting a job rather than cribbing about a day of getting in to a drunken stupor"

    ANTHONY H WILSON says.." Dear Lord Street. Not lost that sense of humour, then? I too am a born and bred scouser. No I am not the Tony Wilson but obviously the irony of my pseudonym was not entirely lost on you, just went left of target and you a Lord as well! I thought you guys were well educated! However I'm not entirely unsurprised, when you seem to have read a different article in Manchester Confidential than the one I read. The article does not, as you seem to believe, differentiate between the council, the culture company, and the city. A fact that the editor and writer of the article himself points out and indeed (feebly) apologises for in the forum comments."

    Angie the Ed says.." Anthony H and anyone else who might be wondering. Manchester Confidential and Liverpool Confidential do share many things, such as a man with a flashbulb at the top of the page, and, now and again, something like a Simpsons review, but not editorial policies. We never confer on our stories or their treatment, and our scripts and our "hymn sheets" for want of a better phrase, are quite different. We are proud that Liverpool Confidential's writers are born and bred here and live here, and we certainly enjoy little, if any, day-to-day interference from the publisher. Liverpool Confidential learned last night that Mathew Street was about to be cancelled and we decided to run a straight news story on it this morning. Not a comment piece, because a) it was a fairly dramatic development in its own right and b) commenting is our readers' job. They and you, Anthony H, do it much better than us. That Manchester completely autonomously ran its own interpretation on the tale was more appropriate for them, and I cannot comment any further on that. I would however, like to point out that, in my experience, most people in both cities, and certainly the staff on both sites, desperately want Liverpool to succeed in 2007 and 2008, the Scouse-Manc sniping (away from football) seems to becoming ever more a myth. But then most of you know that anyway."

    Stanley Park says.." I'm actually glad it's not happening. No vomit cascading down the pavements at teatime. No pissed up pissheads. A quiet accident and emergency at the Royal. "

    Sevvie "Balasteroids" Park says.." Was there ever a better time to ship everyone up to Sefton Park and reinstate Larks In the Park. Come on, let's do it. Bill Heckle, you heard. Take the lead, man!"

    Tony Parrish says.." This almost makes me want to start the blog up again, so that I could tear these incompetent bastards apart. Heads SHOULD roll - The Harbarrowboy, Colin Cover Up, Warren 'Im only a fireman' Bradley and Storey. The point is that this has been cancelled because of the money they have wasted on fools and fakes from outside. They have hired the outside consultants in at the last minute to give the impression of independence, but they have stitched this decision up because they haven't got the dosh to run Mathew St. The BIG DIg is not something new, nor is the Pier Head work = so they must therefore be monumentally incompetent for not realising months ago what the problems were. Which of course some people did - the Events team Lee Forde and Eddy Grant knew all this and have been saying all this for months, but no ****er listened to them, because the Culture Company is run by arrogant planks who think they know best - although they know ****all about Liverpool. It is an utter disgrace - people should go and picket the Executive Board at 8.30 tomorrow morning and make them feel a bit of heat. They have thrown away the opportunity to make 2008 a defining moment in Liverpool's history and a genuine life-changing experience for Liverpool people. Tossers. they deserve all the aggro they will now undoubtedly get. The only comfort is that, as most of the comments on here so aptly demonstrate, people are getting wise to the charlatans at last and know exactly what is going on. Start a blog. Create a campaign. Organise and agitate. The city really deserves better than these shysters. HEADS MUST ROLL...."

    canthelastoneoutturnthelightsoff says.." Well said Tony Parrish. the thing that p***** me off is COC really believe we are too daft to see through this H+S smokescreen, then again if no-one with local knowledge is in a decision making role perhaps we shouldnt be surprised. The MSF used to work pretty well before Pierhead i would say. "

    Tori Blare says.." This is an absolute discrace, Liverpool City Council Tax Payers, should demand their council tax back, business's and basically anyone affected by this sham should let this council know what they think, bombard the culprits with your complaints! Did anyone ever consult the real Health and Safety people? The Health and Safety Executive? Scratch the surface and it will reveal the real reason for this mess is the Council are in debt. Jason Harrowboy or whatever he calls himself, is an arrogant tw*t, I recal the Tax payer funded his thousands of pounds trip to Harvard to learn how to be a culture chief, looks like it didn't work! People of Liverpool should demand the resignation of Storey and Bradley and Jason, an absolute disgrace!"

    childers says.." How pathetic. How Politicaly correct.How typicaly near sighted. What an own goal !! Ministry of idiotic decisions says "Liverpool too popular now,must stop this party." That'll teach them to run with a project and succed. Make more resources available, make this party safe, make people take ownership of their own actions to preserve safety for themselves. Take this nanny state and shove the cotton ball attitude of these safety gurus where the sun doesn't shine."

    Nostradamus says.." I knew this would happen"

    Jazzman says.." Strangely, a search for "Mathew Street" at returns an 'error' message!!!"

    ABITMUCKINGFUTCH says.." i see the health and safety idiots are at it again, where will it end? the health and safety are becoming a law on to themselves, shame on you lcc."

    Anonymous says.." Jazzman, Perhaps they spell it Matthew Street, the 08 people, being from other parts"

    GarryG says.." Larks in the Park used to take 6 months to organise and was done on �5000 which was raised solely from donations. For the first few years the City Council didn't even know it was happening. The bands played free or for "bfh". In this age of over-regulation, health and safety, security, and ideologically orientated grant funding an "authentic" Larks in the Park would be impossible. Nice idea though. Keen amateurs seem to beat overpaid professionals easily in things like this."

    Calder Stones says.." Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. (W.H. Murray) "

    Wapping says.." Hahaha! does find Mathew Street (not St) and there's a form for bands to apply to play there in a file dated LAST THURSDAY!!! That's cutting it a bit fine if the show had been going ahead. FFS!"

    Fletch says.." Disgrace! Short notice or what? And they've only just realised there's 'health & safety' issues? You're in danger every time you walk into the city centre these days. And what about those people who's have this booked for ages? And they want us to celebrate 800 year birthday and get into the spirit of the capital of culture!!! Total & utter disgrace."

    richard leese says.." Come home agents Harborow and Donaldson - mission accomplished - well done."

    Pete says.." I've created a petition that you can sign online to show your support for the festival."

    Tina and Steph says.." Not happy, its appaling. What has it got to do with health and safety? Its nearly capital of culture time, i am just so lost for words, its a disgrace"

    Jim McCabe says.." Where's the Liverpool Subculture blog at this time?! Revive it, Tony, your comments cut through all the crap from The Culture Company (the very name is a contradicion). I haven't been the greatest fan of the Matthew Street Festival (too many "tribute" bands, not enough current Liverpool acts), but the timing of this stinks to high heaven. If they cite health and safety as the concern, why wait till now? It wouldn't have been popular, but it would have been understandable to a wider audience if this announcement had been made in February or March. The Culture Company's ineptitude has caused more upheaval than the Big Dig ever could. ( ) "

    Gary Mc - Australia says.." Cant believe it. As an exiled scouser I am planning to come back to Pool this year and this was to be a highlight. Also, what about the timing ?????"

    Tori Blare says.." Bradley has made a statement saying he didn't know anything about Health and Safety concerns, he is the leader of Liverpool City Council, isn't it his job to know everything and more to the point, who IS making the decisions on behalf of the Liverpool people? Civil servants or the elected councillors?"

    Rodrigo says.." It's a never-ending catalogue of incompetance. Smug, oily, self-satisfied, corporate wannabee shysters, who know about arts and culture what I know about nuclear fusion (that's **** all, by the way readers) personified by the neauseating Jason Wheelbarrow have descended upon us like a plague of locusts for a 100 grand plus a year, to polish up their cv's in readiness for the London Olympics, and you can be sure, they'll all be out of this town as soon as they've burped and farted their way through the last of the vintage Krug and smoked salmon vol au vonts on December 31st 2008. Their arrogance, and sense of self congratulation, is so extreme that they seem to think they are immune and untouchable. Perhaps they are untouchable, but only in the sense that they belong, one and all, in a leper colony. These shameless, hapless, and self-deluded opportunists have endlessly damaged this city beyond belief. It's incomprehensible to most right-thinking (not in the political sense dear) people, how they came to acquire such positions in the first place. One can only wonder at the nature of the critical questions fired at them by stern-looking interviewers such as Question "You're having an extended lunch, (on the expense account of course) and the restaurant is out of Krug and Bolly, what do you say." Answer (accompanied by a look of resignation - resignation, in any other sense being an alien concept to them) "I'll have to do with the Montrachet then then." Interviewer "Perfect, the jobs yours, when can you start." Nothing short of a sweeping clearout will rid us of what has become a complete and utter embarrassment to this great city of ours. Can you imagine New Orleans cancelling Mardi Gras? Or Rio De Janeiro cancelling Carnival on the grounds that we'll attract an awful lot of people, is it safe? Incomprehensible, who decided to employ these gob****es and at what cost? Bet your boots, these unimaginative self-serving wankers will try to use "collective responsibility" as a response to the question, "so who's head will roll." All's that means folks is, we'll ride out this storm and when it's over, carry on as usual in our index-linked, nirvana, they'll all soon forget, and for us, it's back to business as usual. "Canape anyone.""

    Andy says.." It's not just Liverpool. it's beginning to happen everywhere. It's an incompetent, smug, self-serving political class totally out of control. Sefton Council tried the health & safety stunt on with the Gormley statues. Locals bombarded councillors by phone, text, email etc. in protest. This along with international sniggering, caused them to back peddle. It's your democratic right to let Liverpool Shitty Council know what you think. Their contact details are"

    Clever Trevor says.." Warren. Get the bandstand in sefton park fixed. you've got three weeks. It will be a brilliant event. Don't **** it up"

    Clayton Square says.." Jazzman says.." Who at the Culture Company/Council (same thing!) took the initiative to contact Capita Symonds ? Why this particular company?" Would Capita Symonds be another arm of the notorious Crapita empire that cocked up the passport office, the CRB et al? They are the leading experts in taking large amounts of public money in exchange for a rubbish service. It seems highly appropriate that the Liverpool Cockup Company should have engaged their services. "

    Simon O'Brien says.." I think its a fu@"1n disgrace, fu@c8m Culture Company. ps have you got any vacancies? I'm at a bit of a loose end at the moment?"

    Anonymous says.." So a private elf'n safety co. recommends that we stay at home for the weekend. The council and the police seem happy enough with that. The writing is on the wall."

    Banastre Tarleton says.." "Andy says.." Rant? What's the use, time to DO something. These democratically elected councillors are to blame for humiliating the city. Their telephone numbers should be in the public domain and available freely on the Liverpool City Council website. Bombard them with your thoughts by text. It worked with Sefton Council during the Gormleys fiasco. Do it NOW."" . The problem with this it that the phone calls are put through to blameless, low-paid operators in Liverpool Direct, and the e-mails are diverted to a Culture Cockup Company server no-one looks at. If you want you opinions to be heard, use the home addresses."

    Peter Street says.." Well said, Rodrigo! It appears that when it comes to appointing overpaid and useless people to the Culture Company, that at the sound of an American accent, an Australian accent and a gorblimey London (or phoney gorblimey London) accent is all the useless carpetbaggers need to land a cushy job with a fat salary several times what the locals are allowed to earn. It seems that the parochial dolts in charge of recruitment to the Cockup Company are impressed by these accents far more than the ability to do the job in question. Experienced candidates with relevant, proven, skills, experience and local knowledge and a commitment to the area were dismissed early on."

    Jimmy Corkhill says.." I am disappointed. I was looking forward to turning up. Mind you, I'll turn up at anything me. Any invites??"

    Wapping says.." Some of these Culture vultures cut their teeth on the Garden Festival (what an asset that turned out to be!) and Albert Dock. They're expert at multimillion pound flannelling now. It'll take more than Harpic to get rid of them now."

    Tori Blare says.." If the Mathew Street festival was to go ahead as we all expected, Bradley and his wet nelly party would be taking the glory and claiming it was all due to the Liberal democrats and no-one else. However when things go wrong, Bradley and the wet nellies always blame someone else or claim ignorance. Utter Bollocks, they messed up and should take the shame and either do the right thing and resign before they are sacked. People like Tony Parrish and myself have been screaming about the corruption of the Liverpool City Council and the waste of public money for Jaunts to Cannes and luxury yatchs, now at the last minute they cancell one of the only things left for the people of Liverpool to enjoy and actually benefit from, instead they have made me and the rest of Liverpool look like divvies. Can we have a bi-election for the whole of the Liberal demnocrat controlled areas? I have no confidence in these so called councillors from the wet nelly party. Sack everyone that has been involved in this fiasco, they are accountable to the Liverpool City Council Tax payers. What have the people of Liverpool gained from this? I feel ashamed."

    Anonymous says.." Why not have simply transferred all the stages to the numeroud PARKS we have around the city... understand there is loads of road works in the city centre but Liverpool is much bigger than that!!... Small minds of our council hey. Think Bigger guys!!"

    Captain Jack says.." An absolute shambles of mismanagement, incompetence, short sightedness, commercial naivety and cowardice. I'm still apoplectic 24 hours on. The people who run the city lost the confidence of the business community months ago, now the whole sorry mess has been laid bare for ordinary people to see. I have absolutely no confidence anything will be delivered for Capital Of Culture year. The City is hanging its hat on revenue from tourism, how much goodwill will be left after this? Its all very well building hotels like they are going out of fashion - who is going to stay in them? If the Council cant deliver events such as this then hotel chains will start to pull away. But I've said all that before. What really saddens me is the way the Council have missed a gilt edged opportunity to change peoples perceptions of the city once and for all. 2007 (800th Birthday) and 2008 were the opportunity to put Liverpool back on the world stage. What have we had? We appoint an Australian on a six figure salary who spends no time at all in Liverpool then resigns in mysterious circumstances. Her replacement was patently not up to the job and resigns as well. The infighting with Henshaw and Storey, email transcripts and High Court appearances, was an acute embarrassment. The Summer Pops was nearly cancelled until CMP stepped in with a scaled down version. The flagship concert venue launches with...Atomic Kitten. Now the Matthew St Festival is axed with 3 weeks to go. There is no evidence whatsoever anyone in a position of responsibility has the credentials to deliver a world class event (despite massively inflated salaries). This is even more depressing than the Militant years, because this time we had the opportunity and the platform to make the City fly high again and regain that sense of civic pride. I am devastated. I've been getting sarcy emails and texts from Manchester colleagues past and present who I had confidently predicted Liverpool would very soon be regaining its status as a UK destination. Even I cant believe the series of c*ck ups and gross mismanagement that has followed the announcement we were to be Capital Of Culture (it seems a long, long time ago now). I'd clear the lot of them out and get some commercially minded people in. What credentials has Warren Bradley to run anything? In management saying "I only found out yesterday" is no excuse - its your JOB to know. I have a passion and belief in Liverpool that has remained undimmed for years. I love the place, its in my blood. Which is why I feel so badly let down by those in power, people who had the opportunity and the flagship event to really effect change. There is such a big dent in my confidence its going to take a miracle to get it back. 2008 for me will be abit of ropey street theatre, the Toxteth Afro Caribbean drum collective, some second rate Liverpool comedians and bands who were big in the 80's...and a firework display. It could have been much, much more. I stood on St Georges Plateau at Christmas watching the fireworks and ushering in Liverpool's 800th Birthday. I was brimful of optimism. Its now all gone. All I feel is shame. "

    Donna says.." An absolute embarrassment! So all the building work has stopped the festival? Why couldn't it be relocated? - It's not as if the council haven't known about this for an age - A comple waste of space the lot of them!!"

    Ian Hamilton Fazey says.." Why all this fuss about Manchester Confidential's treatment of the story? "Liverpool F***S It Up Again" is entirely accurate. It's as though the last 30 years or so of struggle were all for nought. And where did this Jason Hoborrow fellow come from? Could Angie the Ed get cracking organising a ranters' fund to buy him a one-way ticket to wherever it was? "

    johno 529 says.." was,nt degsy a fireman and as far as having too many peeps in the city centre , if they did,nt allow the funfair there would be plenty of room , i for 1 don,t go to watch fairground rides i go to watch bands which is what i thought it was al about"

    John E. Monk says.." Degsy was a car park (and other public property) salesman."

    Mathew Street: Just who is running Liverpool?

    Who is running this city?

    Jessica Shaughnessy exclusively reveals the full story behind the Mathew Street Festival cancellation

    THE Daily Post can today exclusively reveal the contents of a damning report highlighting the incompetence and mismanagement that led to the collapse of the Mathew Street Festival.

    Outrage reverberated across Merseyside yesterday after the event, which was expected to boost the local economy by up to £40m, was cancelled just three weeks before it was due to go ahead.

    Liverpool council leader Warren Bradley last night astonishingly revealed he was only told the world-famous festival was in danger hours before officials pulled the plug.

    A leading expert on health and safety, brought in just a week ago to examine arrangements, advised Liverpool’s Culture Company and the City Council to walk away from the event because:

    • a safety coordinator appeared not to have been appointed to oversee the Bank Holiday extravaganza with just a month to go;
    • the Culture Company had suffered a loss of expertise with resignations and sickness leading those left having insufficient time/competence to run the event successfully;
    • little evidence of consideration being given to emergency access and crowd flows;
    • remedial action to bring the event back from the brink would take at least six months.

    As Cllr Bradley demanded a full investigation into the festival’s collapse, Culture Company chief executive Jason Harborow resisted calls for his resignation.

    Mr Harborow blamed the loss of the Pier Head because of construction work and other regeneration projects in the city making management of the expected 100,000-strong crowds “impossible”.

    He said: “I am comfortable the decision to cancel the event was the right one. It is devastating that we cannot have a Mathew Street Festival this year, but at least people will not be put in danger.

    “It was a no-win situation. If we had gone ahead and there was a disaster, we would have been blamed.

    “In hindsight, it would have been better if we had reached this decision earlier. But it was only left so late because we were working so hard to find a solution.

    “If people want me to resign, I will talk to them about it, but I have the full support of my colleagues.

    “This would have happened whoever organised the event. The Culture Company has a lot to offer next year. If me or any of my team were to leave now, it could be catastrophic to 2008.”

    Labour’s deputy leader, Cllr Paul Brant, called for Warren Bradley to quit, saying as head of the town hall and a member of the culture board he should carry the can.

    “This is a disaster for Liverpool’s image and he should go,” said an angry Cllr Brant.

    Cllr Bradley, on holiday until this weekend, said: “This is not the time to be calling for anybody to resign but to work on making sure this kind of disaster can never happen again.”

    The council leader said he was only made aware of the fears at 7pm on Wednesday night, despite the concerns of officials.

    He has already ordered several senior council officers to move into the Culture Company and said he will be meeting the heads of the Culture Company as soon as he returns.

    He did not rule out demanding resignations.

    Cllr Bradley said: “I have regularly met with culture officials and on not one occasion has anybody raised safety concerns about Mathew Street and I just can’t believe this has happened.

    “I am adamant that an alternative venue should be sought to ensure that the festival event is staged over the Bank Holiday weekend. I see no reason why these issues can not be overcome.”

    An investigation he demanded into the shambles was last night already under way by chief executive Colin Hilton.

    Mr Hilton said that officers had exhausted every alternative inside and outside the city centre, such as Sefton Park, St George’s Plateau and Kings Dock, but none were found to be suitable.

    He said: “It was not fully appreciated the impact the loss of the Pier Head would have.

    “We had to act on the advice given to us by the police and the health and safety experts. We could not ignore it.”

    Mr Hilton could not even give reassurances that the event, touted as a Capital of Culture highlight, would definitely be back on track for 2008. “We are reviewing it. We will look at ways that it can be put in place.”

    Furious business leaders and politicians said the explanation was a smoke-screen and the authorities had known about the problems for a year.

    But Mr Hilton said alarm bells had not begun to ring until mid-June and the company commissioned to carry out the health and safety report was not brought in until last week.

    Last night, moves were made to press ahead with the festival by staging acts lined up to perform on outdoor stages inside bars and clubs instead.

    Bill Heckle, co-director of Cavern City Tours, the company that founded the Mathew Street Festival before it was handed over to the council, said last night he was “disappointed and embarrassed by the news”.

    But he said the Culture Company and the city council had no choice but to act.

    He said: “This city is particularly sensitive to disasters and there is no way this kind of health and safety advice could be ignored.

    “I was only told at 8.30am this morning. I am still in a state of shock.”

    When asked if he could have offered any solutions if he had been consulted at an earlier date, Mr Heckle said: “I think the answer is obvious. The important thing we have to remember is that there will still be celebrations on the Bank Holiday weekend and Beatle Week has not been affected.

    “The only difference is we will not have the live stages.

    “This is how the Mathew Street Festival began and 10 years ago, when the Labour Party did not have the funds for the outdoor stages, we did it again. It was a success then and it will be a success again.”

    Leader of the Labour Party, Cllr Joe Anderson, blasted the ruling Liberal Democrats and said the collapse of Mathew Street was an embarrassment.

    He said: “What is this going to look like to the outside world? People have been planning to come here for months for the Mathew Street Festival. They will not come back for Capital of Culture Year now.”

    But Cllr Dave Antrobus, acting council leader, said hope had not completely faded to salvage the situation.

    He said: “As far as we are concerned, that is not it. The problem is the ‘can’t do’ officers at the Culture Company.”

    Alcohol ban 'could save festival'
    A ban on street drinking could be among the measures needed to ensure Liverpool's Mathew Street Festival goes ahead this month.

    The annual music festival was cancelled over health and safety fears just three weeks before it was meant to kick off the city's 800th birthday party.

    Council leader Warren Bradley said the street alcohol ban and moving the funfair could overcome some concerns.

    The alternative plans are awaiting Merseyside Police's approval.

    The cancellation of the event, which attracts around 100,000 people and was due to be held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, was announced on Thursday while Mr Bradley was on holiday.

    Liverpool City Council said the loss of space at the Pier Head and the amount of ongoing construction work meant there was a "significant" risk to the public.

    Despite detailed planning for the event, a health and safety review launched just two weeks ago found the lack of space - combined with large crowds in an unlicensed environment - would pose too much of a risk.

    After learning of the cancellation, Mr Bradley said he had been working with councillors, local businesses and council officers to come up with a plan to ensure the festival went ahead.

    He has proposed the alcohol street licence be withdrawn and also said the children's funfair should be relocated to a park.

    He said health and safety remained "paramount" while ensuring the entire city and its visitors could enjoy a full bank holiday celebration with the Mathew Street Festival at its heart.

    The council leader has already promised an investigation into events surrounding the cancellation.

    Mr Bradley said he was only made aware of potential problems on Wednesday - the day after health and safety officials finished their inspection.

    An online petition to save the festival was launched on Friday.