The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority held its fourth meeting today.
Progress on a range of initiatives was presented, included updates on One North, rail devolution, freight and logistics, the development of the City Region’s European Rural Development programme, the draft Enterprise Strategy Framework, together with an evaluation of The Skills Show Experience at the International Festival for Business.
Merseytravel, on behalf of the City Region, has been working with the other Combined Authority areas in the North of England to develop proposals to radically transform transport connectivity across the east-west axis from Liverpool to Newcastle and Hull. Since the last meeting, a number of workstreams have been established to develop the strategic economic case for improved connectivity, to identify and assess interventions within the strategic plan and to estimate the economic activity outputs resulting from the proposals.
Merseytravel has also been working on proposals to decentralise the specification, letting and management of rail franchises, and has been in discussion with the Department for Transport on the implementation of these proposals for the Northern and TransPennine franchises, which are due to expire in February 2016. This work is progressing well.
The Liverpool City Region has identified the freight and logistics industry as one of the key transformational business sectors to underpin the City Region’s economic development. The Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and other City Region partners has developed the concept of a Freight and Logistics Hub to underpin a number of projects considered critical to accelerating the City Region’s performance within this sector. The Hub was a key element of the LEPs Strategic Economic Plan and the Growth Deal struck with Government in July 2014.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority endorsed the Mersey Rural Leader programme for 2014-2020, which will assist in attracting funding for the city region, which could be used to add value to primary food products, support the visitor economy and create more jobs in the rural sector.
The Draft Enterprise Strategy Framework for the Liverpool City Region was presented, which will enable joined up working across the LEP and local authorities, as well as ensuring business support meets the needs of businesses who are looking to grow.
An evaluation of the Skills Show Experience at the International Festival for Business 2014 was shared. The Show had over 3,500 pupils from the City Region attending the event which showcased the training and employment opportunities available across the City Region. The event aimed to inspire young people the future career choices of local young people by allowing them to take part in over 120 ‘have a go’ experiences related to these job roles. Funding options to host events in 2015 and 2016 are currently being explored.
Councillor Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority “By the Government using Combined Authorities to devolve decision making, we have been able to make a lot of progress in such a short space of time. Through the creation of the Combined Authority, we have a collective voice for our City Region for issues like determining priorities for investment in infrastructure – this can be evidenced in the progress with have made through One North and the rail devolution project. We are showing how we are working together with other areas across the North.”
The next meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority takes place on 21 November at 11am at Mann Island, Liverpool.