City Region discusses Combined Authority Plans

Budget News booklet2

Proposals for local authorities to work more closely together to secure jobs and investment took a step closer at a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Cabinet today (10 September, 2013).

There was unanimous agreement between Leaders of the local councils and Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority that the move towards a more formal joint body to make strategic decisions would help to improve both the local and national economy.

As part of a governance review, consultation on the preferred option of a Combined Authority took place. The consultation process closed last week. At today’s meeting, local authority Leaders considered the consultation feedback and discussed the next steps.

The consultation process consisted of a range of methods including meetings, public events and online feedback with businesses, partner organisations and local residents. During the five week consultation process, 168 feedback responses were received from across the City Region, and the Liverpool City Region Cabinet heard that support for the proposals were overwhelmingly positive, with more than 80 percent in favour.

A Combined Authority would allow Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral councils, Merseytravel and the Local Enterprise Partnership to formalise their working relationship around strategic decions, and use this joint influence to draw-down powers and resources from Central Government for local use. This would improve the economy, create jobs and benefit all communities across the Liverpool City Region.

It would provide clear leadership and greater transparency, while creating a legal entity which would be in a position to attract funding and devolved powers from Government.

It would also improve the region’s effectiveness and efficiency in delivering transport and economic development which would benefit all residents.

Mayor of Liverpool and Chair of Liverpool City Region Cabinet, Joe Anderson, said: “Working together as a Combined Authority will put us in a much stronger position when negotiating with Government.

“Speaking with one voice will enable us to make a powerful case for the devolution of powers and resources from Central Government.

“This is absolutely vital if we are to do more to attract jobs and investment and improve life for residents.

“We already have a strong and positive relationship with our neighbours. Combined Authority status will build on those arrangements, adding transparency and clear decision making for the City Region.”

Each local authority is expected to make decisions at their Cabinet and Council meetings over the next couple of weeks, with Merseyside Integrated Transport Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership also considering the proposals. It is expected that if all parties are support the proposals, a formal submission will be made to Government on 30 September.