And there’s more spending promises – But what about the far bigger picture for Merseyside?

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

50p child bus fares, a new Mersey Ferry etc. Mm, back to politicians pledges that I commented on not so long ago.

These latest pledges are because we are getting a Metro Mayor foisted on Merseyside (Liverpool City Region) because our Tory Government says we should have one and Merseyside Labour rolled over and grabbed at the chance to have another politician living off the public purse. Remember Liverpool electors didn’t get a say whether they had an elected Mayor and across Merseyside we have had no say either in the one we are going to get in 2017.

So the pledges are starting from those jockeying to be Labour’s candidate with Liverpool elected Mayor Joe Anderson desperate to rule all of Merseyside.

But in the real world what are the big issues that need to be tackled across Merseyside?

Education – In Knowsley Borough and parts of Liverpool education attainment is poor to say the least – bumping along the bottom of any comparative league tables across the UK.

Housing – The lack of suitable housing for elderly – small bungalows, sheltered housing etc. The short supply of social housing again mostly 1 and two bedroom.

Environment – Putting a stop to the mad rush to build on green spaces and Green Belt on Merseyside and turning Merseyside into a truly green and sustainable City Region.

Unemployment and low skill jobs – Breaking the cycle of families where generation upon generation does not work. Upskilling the Merseyside workforce so that quality jobs are attracted to here.

Getting our Transportation right – Investing in connecting up the rather small (in my view too small) Liverpool City Region with its surrounding major communities of Preston, Skelmersdale, Wrexham etc. by rail. Connecting Liverpool Airport to the national rail network.

Yes I am sure 50p child bus fares would be nice and a new Mersey Ferry will make us all nostalgic for another playing of that Gerry and Pacemakers song but they are not going to change the City Region. They will not address, unemployment, low skills, low wages, the wrong mix of housing stock and poor transport links. They will not improve the health and the life expectancy of some parts of Merseyside that need this addressed urgently. They will not make us a green and sustainable sub regional economy. Our poor health and life expectancy is played into by the first 4 of the issues I raise above.

I don’t know about you but I want to see real pledges to address the kind of things I am raising above (which of course is not an exhaustive list) as without addressing and solving such important matters a new Metro Mayor will indeed be just another politician living off the public purse.

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