Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has submitted a bid to new Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a £230 million ‘Green City Deal’ to tackle climate change and boost the economy post-Brexit.
The proposal would provide new skills and housing which would transform the city through new powers and funding, creating 10,000 new jobs, supporting 35,000 people into work and training 4,000 apprentices.
The vision – which it is estimated would provide a £5 billion economic boost over five years – is focused on helping make the city carbon neutral, while also delivering jobs, clean air, better health, smarter travel, green spaces and warm and cheap-to-heat homes.
Backed by businesses and trade union UNITE, it also aims to create economic opportunities with skills education which will allow workers of all ages to find employment in new industries created by a cleaner, greener economy.
The vision is designed to shift the trajectory of the city’s economy in response to climate change whilst achieving clean inclusive growth, opportunities for all citizens and securing a long term sustainable city for the future.
It would support the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy and address issues highlighted in February by the independent Committee on Climate Change, and also builds on Liverpool City Council’s declaration of a climate change emergency at a special council meeting earlier this month.
It would see:
• Incentives for the private sector to build more energy-efficient homes, with similar properties also forming part of the city’s council house building programme and its own housing company, Foundations
• The establishment of a Liverpool Mutual Bank to help people on to the housing ladder and support SMEs, particularly those in the green sector, to start up or expand
• A total of 6,000 lifetime standard homes built or retrofitted with energy saving features such as triple glazing, smart energy meters, heating/light sensors to save householders money on their bills and tackle fuel poverty. There will also be energy generation and supply features such as solar panels, heat pumps and electric charging points where needed as well as business-to-business energy trading schemes
• A range of financial incentives for homeowners such as discounted ‘green’ mortgages, and potential council tax discounts for the most energy efficient homes
The initiative would be linked to developing a local supply chain with businesses and their workforce able to design, install and maintain the technology used in carbon neutral homes, as well as capitalise on commercial opportunities it offers.
The council is working with UNITE the Union, the GMB, TUC and local employers to work up a proposal for an innovative clean growth vocational training hub which would be used to equip people with the skills required by employers in key sectors, whole also promoting fair employment practices. It is part of a radical plan to create a Liverpool curriculum that better meets the needs of all young people and more focused on vocational skills to help increase attainment and attendance.
It also includes a proposal to make the £1 billion Paddington Village development one of the country’s greenest new developments as an exemplar for air quality with the best carbon neutral infrastructure and transport, including the possible use of driverless vehicles to link it to the city centre.
It would be the second City Deal that Joe Anderson has negotiated with the Government – the first in 2012 exceeded its targets for building new schools and houses and creating jobs as well as establishing five Mayoral Development Zones.
The key components of the submission are:
A green housing programme • 3,000 new build homes delivered to the very best low carbon standards • A further 3,000 existing homes retrofitted to modern low carbon standards • A third (2,000) of the new and refurbished properties would be council houses • Piloting new approaches to local, low carbon energy production • Incentives and measures to encourage and enable the uptake of retrofitting by homeowners and landlords • Training a new generation of engineers, designers and installers to meet the needs of the sector • Developing new technologies and supporting the growth of a new wave of green businesses • Trialling alternatives to gas boilers which will not be permitted in new homes after 2025
Skills and education • Develop a “Clean Growth” Vocational Training Hub focused on delivering post 16 provision and adult skills with employers and trades unions to ensure a supply of clean growth skills • Working closely with Government to revolutionise technical, vocational and creative learning and progression through to further learning, work experience and employment • Liverpool to be designated as a ‘National Centre for Creative Education’, building on the outreach work of the city’s respected arts and cultural organisations and the citizenship demonstrated by young climate activists, helping embed creativity and entrepreneurship into learning to increase attainment and attendance and inspire pupils to think big in their career aspirations • Develop a ‘clean growth learning partnership’ which connects employers and developers of innovative materials with schools so the best of green technologies and the built environment can support pupil engagement and teaching
Paddington Village City Demonstrator • Making the £1 billion development an exemplar for carbon neutral commercial developments and energy supply • Innovation in green and digital infrastructure including developing a business case for driverless vehicles that can connect the area to the city centre • Investing in clean growth technologies which can be used use in housing, training and infrastructure to enable them to be made more widely commercially available
The city has already been in talks with various Government departments, investors and trade unions about its ideas, and the plan draws them all together into one joined-up proposal.
Mayor for Liverpool, Joe Anderson said: “We need to be bold, radical and ambitious if we are to meet our target of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030.
“There are huge opportunities for us to improve the lives of all residents across the city, whatever their age or background, with better and more energy efficient housing, use of smart technology and making sure our young people have the right skills to take advantage of the jobs in these growth sectors.
“This proposed City Deal centres on positioning Liverpool as the go-to place for clean technology investment, training and job creation through an inclusive and sustainable growth strategy.
“This is the right moment for us to be working up a serious bid to Government, as the new Prime Minister will be looking closely at how best to support the country’s economy following Brexit, which he is clear will be at the end of October.
“We know the Treasury has set aside fiscal headroom to deal with the impact of leaving the EU, and we need to be ready to take advantage of this with a clear plan for our economy.
“Through targeted and long term investments in the city’s infrastructure and skills development, we can become a global destination for inward investment focussed on the new clean growth industry.
“We are working in close partnership with trade union partners, residents, industry, government, investors, and universities on the best ideas and solutions, as well as adopting radical new approaches to address climate change.
“For too long we have not inspired our young people to aspire to become engineers and construction workers despite a desperate need for skilled workers. Vocational training needs to be modernised and fit for students and the needs of businesses. Working with the unions we are exploring the potential of working together to deliver better outcomes for our young people.”
Lord Deben, Chair of the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change, said: “I welcome this innovative approach from Liverpool to tackle some of the ingrained challenges behind making an inclusive and sustainable green economy for the city.
“It is only these permanent changes to the way we live and work that will allow us to deliver the necessary and urgent response we need to Climate Change.”
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, from UNITE the Union, which is working with the city on the education and skills element of the bid, said: “UNITE the union regards the Liverpool City Deal as a series of wonderful opportunities to bring investment into Liverpool with a practical skills agenda, house building programme and a Green Agenda for our members.
“The City Deal can position UNITE in a modern setting working with the Mayor and other trade unions to deliver jobs, future investment, training and skills development.”