£500m Merseyside fund to back new ferry and ultra-fast broadband

Liverpool city region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has unveiled the latest four-year Strategic Investment Fund that will look to spend £100m in the first year. Tony McDonough reports

Royal Iris
Cash from the Strategic Investment Fund could be used to build a new Mersey Ferry. Picture by Tony McDonough

 

Ultra-fast broadband for the whole of Liverpool city region and a new Mersey Ferry are among a plethora of projects that will benefit from a new £500m fund.

Liverpool city region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says the money from the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) will be made available for transformational projects over the next four years with the first £100m being allocated in the first year.

And Mr Rotheram says those looking for backing for projects will have greater chance of success if they pledge to pay people the Living Wage, recognise trades unions, create apprenticeships and use local supply chains.

The Combined Authority’s previous SIF allocated £400m of investments across the city region which will create £1.7bn of economic activity, 9000 jobs, 5,500 apprenticeships, and support a wide range of projects.

They include £20m for Liverpool’s new cruise terminal, £13m for a new station at Maghull North, £19m for the Newton-le-Willows interchange and £12m for Paddington Village in Liverpool’s £2bn Knowledge Quarter.

Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram

 

A number of high-profile projects have already been identified projects likely to be backed by the fund. They include ultra-fast broadband for all of the six boroughs, a new Mersey Ferry, A new smart ticketing system to replace the Walrus card and cash to rejuvenate local high streets.

Mr Rotheram said: “Through the SIF we will have around half a billion pounds available to support projects in areas such as transport infrastructure, economic development, business growth, skills, culture and housing.

“Devolution gives us the opportunity to do things differently, and one of the ways we will do that is by making clear to applicants that they will have a better chance of success if their bids demonstrate positive social impact.”

The Strategic Investment Fund also recognises the importance of culture to the Liverpool city region, with a short-form approval process for projects of less than £1m, designed to enable the Combined Authority to offer better support for smaller cultural projects.

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