A new online resource, bringing together some of Merseyside’s major players to inform the devolution process for Liverpool City Region, has been launched by the University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice.
Devolution Matters for Liverpool City Region will be an ongoing blog type platform, featuring the thoughts of the region’s politicians, business leaders and academics, as well as those heading up the area’s biggest public organisations.
It will be launched and curated by the Heseltine Institute’s Dr Paul Hepburn, who has carried out academic studies on local government and the mayoral model.
Dr Hepburn said: “Devolved governance is new territory for all of us. Our aim here is to animate a conversation on how these new arrangements might work to stimulate our economy, public services and democracy to achieve a prosperous, well governed city region.”
Opening up the online debate at Devolution Matters will be current Mayor of Liverpool, and Liverpool City Region mayoral candidate, Joe Anderson.
Mayor Anderson will talk about his drive to “build a sustainable next-generation economy” by “repairing an economy and social fabric that has been damaged by bad government decisions, ministerial neglect and, now, economic uncertainty caused by the decision to leave the EU”.
He will promise to create ten “Mayoral Development Zones” to generate “thousands of jobs”; develop vocational schools and a City Region Skills Commission; cap bus fares for children; push to ensure HS2 reaches Liverpool; “capitalise on the boom in sea freight and passenger ships now docking in the Mersey”; and pledge to build 10,000 “rent to buy” homes in Liverpool.
Mayor Anderson writes: “Given the issues are serious the role of metro mayor has to be taken seriously too.
“Anyone who thinks it’s about cutting ribbons, or acting the fool like Boris, posing on zip-wires and appearing on game shows, is deluding themselves. There’s a lot of hard work to be done.”
Real world challenge
Devolution Matters will address the “real world challenge of ‘how can we make this work?’”, says Dr Hepburn and will be open to contributions from readers, as well as informed by similar ongoing processes in Manchester and Salford.
Steve Coffey, Chief Executive of Liverpool Mutual Homes, will be up after Joe Anderson, followed by Chair of Merseytravel, Liam Robinson. New pieces are expected to be published every two or three days.
Find out more and make your contribution at www.liverpool.ac.uk/heseltine-institute/blog/.