Today’s Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting demonstrated that progress is strong, and there is an appetite for more.
The City Region’s ambitious long-term rail strategy was approved, ensuring the rail network meets the needs of the City Region over the next 30 years, as well as supporting its ongoing economic growth and regeneration and its potential contribution to the wider UK economy
An update on the One North report, which was commissioned by the five Northern Core City Regions to identify the infrastructure that is required to better connect them, was presented. Getting northern cities better connected from east to west through road and rail will enable them to act as a ‘northern powerhouse’, helping to balance the north-south economies. It was agreed that a detailed strategic investment plan will now be developed to deliver this project.
Since the last meeting in April, when an on the High Speed 2 (HS2) was presented, considerable work has continued in order to get the Liverpool City Region the most benefit from HS2. The City Region has established its own campaign to secure a dedicated link to the high speed network, which has encouraged all City Region partners to work closely with the ‘Linking Liverpool’ campaign.
The Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was awarded £232m to be invested in the City Region. This is part of the Growth Deal funding which set out the Government’s funding commitment against strategic schemes as well as new freedoms and flexibilities in local priority areas. The LEP has engaged with local authorities and Merseytravel to assess the next steps in delivery the Growth Deal. Over £180m of the funds secured are transport scheme related, whilst £31m has been secured for skills capital funding. The remaining funding will be used establish a Growth Hub as well as supporting the International Festival for Business in 2016.
Since the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority was established, a number of external discussions have been taking place with other Northern Combined Authorities and the Local Government Association with regards to how the Liverpool City Region can collectively build the case for greater devolved political and financial powers, share learning and build the case for the North. The Government are consulting on what further powers should be devolved to local areas through the Northern Futures consultation. The Combined Authority will be responding formally to this consultation, which concludes on 17 October 2014.
Councillor Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said “Today’s meeting clearly demonstrates the extensive work that has been carried out over the last few months and how we are working together across the whole of the City Region to deliver economic growth, transport improvements, creating employment opportunities as well as attracting funding. We are also developing a strong network across the Northern region, as well as with other Combined Authorities, and we will continue to share best practice and deliver real benefits for the Liverpool City Region as a whole.
We welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment today to devolving powers to city regions as part of the new constitutional settlement for our country. Liverpool City Region has shown that it can deliver, and we look forward to setting out our case over the coming weeks.”
The next meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority will take place on Friday, 17 October 2014 at Mann Island, Liverpool.