Liverpool’s Mayor urges united response to devolution
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to offering devolution deals to northern cities as part of his plan to rebalance the economy.
George Osborne spoke in Manchester on Thursday, confirming that he would introduce a cities devolution bill later this year, giving city regions extra powers over the police, housing, transport and other areas in return for an elected metro-mayor; mirroring the system already adopted in Greater Manchester.
Mayor Anderson challenged local authority leaders in Merseyside councils to work together for the good of the city region, arguing that devolution is more than just about having a more powerful ‘metro’ mayor.
“This is a significant statement by the Chancellor and underlines that any devolution of powers, akin to the package Greater Manchester has already negotiated, must include a metro mayor.
“It’s now up to all the leaders of Merseyside councils to sit down together and agree on the measures we want to see devolved.
“We then need to negotiate a deal with the Treasury and then put this overall package to the voters across Merseyside in a referendum.
“The chance to run police, transport, skills and health across the city-region is a game-changer. Along with new housing investment, it will help us to transform our economy, create thousands of new jobs, improve services and spread prosperity.
“This is not just a question about whether we have a metro mayor. It’s bigger than that. It’s about whether we run our own affairs, take control of our own destiny and position the Liverpool city-region as one of the premier cities in the UK and Europe.”