Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agrees to ask government for further powers over Mersey Tunnels, transport, fire, police, skills, employment, European funding, trade, housing, health, energy and more!
The video above of the Special Meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority of the 2nd September will finish uploading by about 16:30 on the 2/9/15. Once processed it should be available for viewing but is not available at the time this blog post was published.
At a meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, councillors, the Mayor of Liverpool and co-opted members agreed a revised set of recommendations. The revised recommendations appeared only minutes before the meeting started.
The revised recommendations approve a request to the Conservative government to devolve powers to the city region as part of a devolution deal.
Here are the original recommendations (with the crossed out parts deleted by the revised recommendations):
(a) comments upon, and endorses the devolution themes that will form the basis of the Liverpool City Region’s input to the Comprehensive Spending Review on the 4 September 2015 (NB: this detail will form the basis of a follow-on report for members’ consideration); and
(b) notes that the devolution process will remain an iterative process and that further information will be presented to future meetings of the Authority, for members’ consideration."
Here are the revised recommendations agreed today:
- Approve the initial scope of the proposals as outlined in the supplementary report and the presentation made to the Combined Authority as the Liverpool City Region’s formal submission to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, subject to a delegation to the Head of Paid Service in consultation with the Chair of the Combined Authority and the Lead Officer: Economic Development to make any drafting amendments to the final document;
- Continue negotiations with Government over the Autumn period in advance of the publication of the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review to secure a bespoke devolution ‘deal’ for Liverpool City Region which will:
- Drive economic growth and increase productivity;
- Reduce costs and improve outcomes across the whole of the public sector;
- Improve social outcomes and better health and wellbeing for local residents.
- Note that any actual agreement with Government would require the approval of constituent Councils with appropriate consultation put in place;
- Note that devolution negotiations are an iterative process and that further information will be presented to future meetings of the Combined Authority, for Member’s consideration and approval; and
- Note that any Agreement will only be signed by both the Constituent Councils and Government when both parties are fully satisfied with the final details of the Devolution Deal.
So what are the proposals that the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority are asking the government for?
The proposals are in this supplementary report and include the points below (plus other asks):
- Abolishing Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority and transferring its functions to an elected Liverpool City Region Mayor
- Abolishing the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside and transferring its functions to an elected Liverpool City Region Mayor
- Asking for a legislation change so that any surplus Mersey Tunnel tolls can be used for economic development
- “the repayment of historic Mersey Tunnels debts by government”
- Development Corporation Status for the Liverpool City Region
- Creation of a Land Commission
- “Designation of catapult Centres in the City Region for Manufacturing Technology Centre focused on marine and renewable energy and a Centre of Excellence for Infectious Diseases”
- “A Free Trade Zone designation for the Liverpool Wirral Port system that includes provision for Global Zone-to-Zone Transfers, No Duty on Value Added and Enhanced Customs Warehousing”
- “We want government to give us a long-term Special Rail Grant (SRG) to help
secure a new fleet of Merseyrail trains.”
- “the development of a generation system of regional significance, for example, an offshore tidal lagoon”
- Also requested are “asks” under the headings of “cultural partnership and creative dock”, “community safety, enforcement, licensing and regulatory services”, “education”, “children’s services” and “health, wellbeing and social care”
Certainly the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is asking for many changes from the government, which if agreed in principle will be subject to consultation.
Here are what some of the people on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had to say at today’s public meeting that agreed the proposals:
Mayor Joe Anderson (Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) said, "There will be opportunities, there also will be more negotiations of more substance with businesses, with other political parties, with other interested groups like health, the voluntary sector, the trade unions and others to engage and involve themselves in the process."
Cllr Phil Davies (Chair, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority) asked, "In the near future presumably we’ll be drawing up a consultation programme if you like as the negotiations roll out?"
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