The Liverpool City Region settlement announced today falls far behind the one negotiated for Greater Manchester.
The Liverpool City Region has been given far fewer powers than was Greater Manchester.
Manchester will have control over the Police and over the Health Service Liverpool will not! These are two huge areas where Manchester will be able to better coordinate at a sub-regional level the work of the public sector across their huge conurbation. Crime and the NHS are probably our greatest local challenges so what’s the point of a devolution deal that does not empower the Liverpool City Region to address them?
In addition one of the new Liverpool City Region powers, to regulate buses is probably little more than whistling in the wind. The North-East combined authority has already decided not to make use of this devolved ‘power’ because they would have to pay over £230 million in compensation to the existing bus operators.
This is not a good deal, it’s in no way a historic deal but it is just about the best deal our often publicly bickering Merseyside Council Leaders could get with their poor quality, seemingly last minute application. We could have had a much better, potentially worth having, deal had the 6 Merseyside council leaders been working together for the past few years in the way that the 10 council leaders in Greater Manchester have been doing.
In my opinion the deal is not worth a carrot, it will probably get us an unwanted and costly Metro Mayor and Merseyside is hardly likely to move forward. Not radical just ridiculous and it should be rejected out of hand.
Communities like Southport, Formby, Maghull, Aintree, Crosby, Lydiate etc. would be run for the benefit of Liverpool City. Much of Sefton Borough’s boundary is with West Lancashire and City Region deals, should one be replicated in the Liverpool City Region, will put more bricks in the wall between Sefton and West Lancs. Stop this nonsense now.
Councillors in Manchester have backed moves to give Greater Manchester a new figurehead, as part of the first step to having its own directly-elected mayor. The plan would involve appointing a new leader to a “super-council” in the hope the Government will then hand over a package of new powers and finance. Lord Peter Smith, the leader of Wigan Council and the current chair of the Greater Manchester combined authority, is understood to be the frontrunner for the interim post.
The Manchester Evening News carried this story recently.
No surprise that Lord Peter Smith he is the front runner to be the leader over in Greater Manchester. I have seen him at work and respect his approach to local governance. He must be the major reason why Greater Manchester has been so successful in getting Governments to part with so much cash especially in the transportation area.
BUT hey don’t go a spoil it all by having a Metropolitan Mayor for Greater Manchester; that will be a bad move. Yes, Lord Smith could easily slip into such a post but think about who comes after him and don’t put too much power in one person’s hands!
Greater Manchester Council is calling on the government to change the law so it can re-regulate how public transport works within the region, giving poorly-connected communities more service. It has suggested tying together bus, tram and train systems to allow Get Me There ticketless passes to work on all of them, similar to London’s Oyster Card, as well as reworking timetables so they match up.
Report above in the Manchester Evening News
This has to be the right way forward. Remember when buses were deregulated across the Country in the 1980’s and the powers that be in London realised they did not want it inflicted on the capital city! Places like Melling in Sefton Borough now have terrible bus services, whilst London has excellent ones. Manchester continues to lead the north in public transport initiatives
With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story
Sir Terry Leahy explains in the Telegraph why he believes that the UK’s regional cities are being undersold and remain hidden in London’s shadow. He says that if we are to rebalance the economy then we need to get better at articulating our strengths and demonstrating the unique opportunities of doing business in British cities. He adds that most of the UK’s regional cities are well equipped with talent and capital but what are the missing is the boldness and belief to unlock potential and capitalise on the growth opportunity.
The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 2 (27th May)
– But Liverpool undermines itself
Well yes, but in Liverpool/Merseyside the big problem is appalling political leadership with Labour Council Leaders at war with each other as to whom is going to be the local top dog. I saw it first hand when I was Leader of Sefton Council – then it was all about trying to unseat the Labour Chairman of Merseytravel. Now it’s a damaging row about which Labour Council Leader/Elected Mayor is going to be top dog. It’s gone on for years on Merseyside and Labour’s factionalism has been to the obvious gain of Greater Manchester just down the East Lancs Road/M62.
In the light of yet more internal Liverpool City Region squabbling amongst our 6 Labour Council Leaders a voice from down the East Lancashire may be heard saying:-
Thanks for making a right old mess of things over there in the Liverpool City Region; we can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.
Your squabbles mean more investment for us as Governments of any colour continue to laugh and despair in equal measure at your inability to get along with each other and construct a common front to take your City Region forward.
We have benefited from your infighting over many years and now have a tram system second to none in England because the last Labour Government pulled the plug on funding for Merseytram as a consequence of your dysfunctional local government Merseyside family.
Please keep up the good work; we are relying on you to continue to muck things up for Merseyside, despite Mr Heseltine trying to help you, so that Greater Manchester gets the investment that Governments will not give you. We are counting on you remember and thanks once again.
The Leaders and residents of Greater Manchester.
Oh how I wish this this was a political joke but sadly Labour continues to take Liverpool City Region in differing directions all at the same time. If Labour’s Merseyside bosses really think that taking legal action against each other will benefit the Liverpool City Region then I don’t know which planet they are living on!