Mersey Metro Mayor lays out £8bn plan for economic recovery

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is asking the Government for £1.4bn to kickstart ‘shovel-ready’ projects that could help create more than 100,000 jobs. Tony McDonough reports

Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, with a hydrogen-powered bus

 

Liverpool city region is asking the Government for a £1.4bn cash injection which it is claimed would be the catalyst for £8.8bn of projects and the creation of more than 100,000 jobs.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham has submitted his Building Back Better strategy to Whitehall which is focused on kick-starting economic recovery across Merseyside which has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

READ MORE: Rise in Merseyside firms in ‘significant distress’

Mr Rotherham is highlighting a number of projects across the city region which he claims will act as an engine for growth over the next few years. The projects, which the Metro Mayor says can all begin in the next 12 months, include:

  • The Manufacturing Technology Centre’s radical innovation of Modern Methods of Construction, a £155 million programme to revolutionise how homes are built. The MTC is an organisation which seeks to bridge the gap between universities and industry. Its project focuses on new methods of construction and and modular construction – “building homes like building cars”.
  • Glass Futures, a £54m project in St Helens, the historic home of UK glassmaking. The The project will create the world’s first openly accessible, commercially available, multi-disciplinary glass melting facility with provision for research and development trials to decarbonise the UK glass industry. 
  • The LCR Hydrogen Economy Programme, a £600m project in Halton which looks to exploit the potential of hydrogen as a path towards a zero-carbon economy. The first phase will see the procurement of  40 hydrogen buses and a hydrogen refuelling station in Halton which could be delivered for £27.8m, is to be operational by late 2021.
  • National Packaging Innovation Centre (NPIC), a £60m project in Wirral in partnership with Unilever. It would see the creation of an open-access innovation centre focused on the commercialisation of innovative sustainable packaging.
  • Shakespeare North Playhouse (£3m) in Prescot, currency under construction and due to open in 2022, and a £70m replacement for Southport’s existing theatre and conference centre.

In all, the the plan has identified almost 40 fully-costed, shovel-ready interventions, which would create more than 120,000 jobs, including 94,000 permanent roles in total.  In addition, the plan details medium and long-term projects that could play a key role in the recovery, including the Mersey Tidal Power project.

Peel, Urban Splash
Modular homes, such as these planned for Wirral Waters, could form a major plank in the recovery strategy

 

Mr Rotheram said: “This pandemic has rocked us all and we still face tough times ahead, but my ambition to build a globally competitive, environmentally responsible and socially inclusive economy for the whole of our region remains undimmed.

“Before COVID-19, the city region’s growth rate of 3.5% was much higher than national levels, with well-above average productivity growth based on 10 years of strong economic progress. We will build on these solid foundations.

“Alongside our strengths, we know that we still face hugely significant underlying challenges in health, education and skills and economic inactivity in our communities.

“Our recovery plan is focused on tackling these challenges and supporting the people of our city region – tackling inequality, creating jobs, supporting businesses, driving innovation, building new homes, and giving people the skills, they need to fulfil their ambitions.”

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