The Liverpool City Region is one of the few areas that has led the way on ‘devolution agreements’ that will move decision-making on crucial public services like local transport, housing, health and skills training closer to local people.
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority was established in April 2014 and over the last two years, it has achieved a great deal. From £150 million investment in 14 transport improvement schemes, £9 million of Growth Deal funding invested in the International Festival for Business 2016 and Littlewoods Studios (a project that will transform the empty iconic Littlewoods building on Edge Lane into state-of-the-art film studios), through to £21.5 million invested in over 30 projects to enhance current learning facilities or build new ones, along with the identification of key housing and development sites across the region to drive future economic growth, this is just the start!
We made our devolution agreements with Government in November 2015 and March 2016 showing how the Liverpool City Region’s 1.5 million people could benefit from a new kind of local control that impact on the region, their life, the local economy and their future.
The initial devolution agreement in November 2015 secured £900 million of funding and identified a number of priority areas where resources and decision making would be devolved from central Government to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and City Region Mayor.
The priority areas are employment and skills, housing and planning, transport, innovation, business growth and support, energy, culture and finance. Devolution means that decisions about these priority issues will be made locally, by people who know the area better (and the challenges we face) than people in Whitehall. In addition to greater funding and control over decision making, part of the devolution deal was also a commitment to have a directed elected Mayor for the Liverpool City Region in May 2017.
Furthermore, in March 2016, further powers and responsibilities were announced giving the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority additional new powers over transport, piloting the 100% business rates retention approach across the Liverpool City Region, plus working in partnership with the Government on children’s services, health, housing and justice.
In order for devolution to happen under a Mayoral Combined Authority, we need to review the functions and governance arrangements of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) and set out the specific powers to be devolved from Government to the Combined Authority and directly elected Mayor in a Scheme. LCRCA won’t be using its proposed powers alone – but rather in partnership with the six local councils (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral), Government officials and other public bodies.
This Review and Scheme has now been published, but key to this process is seeking the views of people who live or work in the Liverpool City Region.
You can provide feedback through an online survey, available at www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk. There you will find a summary of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority’s functions, what powers will be devolved, how the Combined Authority plans to manage them and then ask for your comments. In addition, comments can be provided via email or in writing, plus hard copies of the survey are available in each local authority reception area.
The closing date for feedback is Friday, 5 August 2016 and further information, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority website – www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.uk
The findings of this review will be presented to The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clarke MP. He will then consider approving a Liverpool City Region Order, which enables the powers and resources for the directly elected Mayor and Combined Authority to be devolved by Government.