Liverpool City Region - devolution bid?

Member Article

Liverpool city region devolution bid discussions

A possible bid by Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for a devolution deal with central governent has been considered at the body’s latest meeting.

The Authority sees its objectives as being to accelerate economic growth, growing jobs and increasing productivity, reforming local public services to cut costs, and to improve the lives, health and well-being of residents by making better use of existing resources and attracting more to the city region.

Members considered the opportunities any deal could bring in terms of having more influence and control over mainstream government money spent locally but currently decided in Westminster and Whitehall rather than in the city region.

The talks were the latest in a number of meetings to pave the way for a devolution bid to government which would need to be submitted by 4th September.

If a bid is submitted, it is expected that the proposals would be discussed in detail with the Government over the autumn, during which time the extent of devolution on offer would become clearer.

The Authority emphasises that the aim of any deal is to drawing additional powers, control and resources down from London rather than taking sovereignty away from existing local authorities.

Members were also clear that any actual agreement with government would require the approval of individual councils with appropriate consultation processes put in-place.

No agreement would be reached if government did not commit to transfer sufficient powers to make devolution worthwhile and no deal could be reached if councils were not enabled to make the final decision.

Councillor Phil Davies, Chair of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and Leader of Wirral Council said: “I want people to understand that this is not about taking powers away local councils and other organisations – rather it is about us deciding how best to spend public money ourselves.

“Liverpool City Region is not like any other area of the country. It has its own unique opportunities and challenges, and that is why it is so absolutely vital that funding decisions are made locally and not dictated nationally.”

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “It is only once we know how much government is willing to devolve to the city region that we will be able to decide whether or not it is something that we want to accept.

“For many decades, local government has had powers taken away from it by Whitehall, and we now have an opportunity to turn the tide. Making decisions on key services and priorities locally is much better than London deciding the destiny of the city region.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Simon Malia .

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