Joe Anderson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, has delivered an Annual Report which admits 2011 has been the 'hardest of my career' - but which looks forward to the future with optimism.
In his review of the last 12 months - which you can read in full here - Joe says that the year has been overshadowed by implementing the £91million of Lib Dem-Tory government cuts, whilst also having to find the next £50million demanded in cuts to Liverpool services by Clegg and Cameron.
But despite the difficult times Liverpool has gone through recently, Joe predicts that the hard work done by the council under his leadership means that Liverpool can look forward to a bright future.
And in a message that contrasts sharply to the dismal outlook given by Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, Joe says 'we have started to lay the foundations of a bright future.'
Referring to the city council's plans to rebuild 8 secondary schools, to recruit 1,300 young apprentices and to build 2,500 new houses, Joe says: "It is clear to me that, as we begin to grow again as a city, Liverpool is about to embark on one of the most exciting periods in its history."
He goes on to set out his vision of Liverpool as a major European city, one which isn't held back by vested interests and those living in the past, but rather as a city which keeps its long tradition for ambition, bold thinking and big ideas.
Joe's Annual Report ends by saying: "100 years ago, in 1911, the Liver building opened its doors on Liverpool’s waterfront. At the time it was Europe’s tallest building."
"Some people said it was too tall, it was too ambitious, it couldn’t be done."
"But it was built by people who’s vision of Liverpool wasn’t a vision of a small English town, but of a leading European city."
"Today the Liver building is an icon we cherish, recognised by people around the world. Back then it sent a message to every city in the world: Liverpool was ambitious, it was confident, it was thinking big."
"Now, 100 years on, we must again ask ourselves: what kind of a city do we want to be?"
"Do we want to be a city stuck in the past, with old attitudes and vested interests blocking progress and development, and where we accept our lot, and accept that things will always be the same for us?"
"Or do we want to be a city looking forward to a bright, prosperous future, where our businesses grow and thrive, and our residents thrive with them?"
"A future where there are jobs and opportunities for all of our young people when they leave school, college or University; where all of our schools are bright and modern, well built and well equipped; where houses are affordable both to buy and live in, and where no-one is left in need of somewhere safe and warm to live; where those who are in need of extra care have high quality services they can rely on to help them; and where our city earns a reputation as being among the greenest, most entrepreneurial cities in the whole world."
"I am determined to lead Liverpool into that future. We have made a good start, and we have done so much in just 18 months leading Liverpool."
"But there is still plenty more to do."
"I am honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead our city. I get excited every single day when I come in to work, because despite the challenges we are facing there is no greater privilege than to lead this great city of ours."
"In 2012, I look forward to working harder than ever to deliver our ambitious vision for Liverpool."