Projects including the redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre will now progress after Steve Rotheram secured approval for a £150m Liverpool city region recovery fund. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has secured approval from the Combined Authority (CA) for his £150m COVID recovery fund plan.
Mr Rotheram unveiled the fund on the first day of his second term as Metro Mayor in May. He won the election, getting 132,000 votes in the first round of voting from voters in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, Halton and St Helens.
Central Government has formally approved the next £150m tranche of devolved funding for the Liverpool City Region and the CA has backed the Metro Mayor’s plan to target projects that will create jobs and support businesses.
It will include a £2.8m investment in the next phase of Knowsley Council’s redevelopment of Kirkby Town Centre, as well as £750,000 support for the Port City Accelerator, a two-year business accelerator programme for SMEs in the maritime sector. Further approvals are expected in July.
“This is new money that will give us a head start on the rest of the country, investing in projects that will power our economic recovery and create and safeguard jobs,” said Mr Rotheram. “It also delivers much-needed hope to people and businesses across the region.
“Two years ago, I launched a £75m resilience programme to help local businesses deal with the impact of Brexit. It was the largest package of business support the city region had seen in decades. This fund is twice as big.
“It is a massive investment in our future and a huge show of confidence in our region’s ability to come back from the adversity of the past year. This is just the start of my ambitions. This money will underpin hundreds of millions of pounds in investments from other funds from transport to skills, to housing.”
Mr Rotheram’s bigger challenge will be in persuading the Government to provide the £1.4bn he believes is needed to support his Building Back Better economic recovery plan. He claims the cash would leverage a further £9bn in investment.
He added: “I’ve just been given an overwhelming mandate from people in every part of the Liverpool city region and I’ll be using it to press the Government to invest in our economic recovery plan, which would deliver nearly £9bn of benefit to our region and create over 120,000 jobs.”