Metro Mayor repeats call for £1.4bn Government cash injection

Speaking to business leaders Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram pledged £150m in post-pandemic recovery support but said the Government needed to step up. Tony McDonough reports

Steve Rotheram
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram. Picture by Tony McDonough


Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says the Combined Authority will spend up to £150m to help the region recover from COVID-19.

And he repeated his call, first made last year, for the Government to offer a £1.4bn package of post-pandemic support which he claims would unlock a recovery plan that would leverage almost £9bn in investment.

In a plan unveiled in July 2020, Mr Rotheram said his ‘Building Back Better’ plan included almost 40, fully-costed “shovel-ready” projects. He claimed they would lead to the creation of more than 120,000 jobs, including 94,000 permanent roles.

Speaking on Tuesday to a 200-strong audience of business and civic leaders at an online event, Mr Rotheram highlighted the “strengths and determination” of the Liverpool city region that will be crucial to driving its economic recovery.

“With the vaccine rollout continuing apace and the roadmap for easing lockdown underway, we all have a clearer sense of when we will be returning to something resembling normality,” he said.

“So now it is vital that we shift our focus to delivering the strongest and fairest recovery possible. I believe that by following our economic recovery plan – and by making good use of our region’s greatest natural resource – its people – we can make a success of it.

“Immediately before this pandemic struck, our city region was the most productive in the North and we outpaced the country in terms of regional growth. We must build on this platform and I know that together we can rise to meet this moment.

“We will still need large scale funding from the Government to help drive our recovery. And we will continue to lobby the Government to invest the £1.4bn identified in our plan, that will enable us to generate a £9bn return for the city region and UK recovery.

“But, alongside this, the leaders of our six councils and I have agreed to create a new LCR Recovery Fund, using the next tranche of our devolved funding up to £150m. This fund would mean that we can start our recovery much faster, collaborating across the city region to invest in projects that will power our economic recovery, creating or safeguarding jobs that will be vitally needed in the coming months and beyond.”

On Monday, the Combined Authority announced it would offer £66m towards the building of an extension to the Merseyrail network and a new station in Kirkby. The money will come out of its Transforming Cities Fund

Tuesday’s event also highlighted how investing in smaller innovative and entrepreneurial projects and in the city region’s £2.9bn social economy – which employs almost 50,000 people – is also vital to economic recovery.

Mr Rotheram added: “I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenge that still lies ahead. COVID has hit key sectors of our local economy – hospitality, leisure and the visitor economy – particularly hard.

“But I’m really proud of all we’ve done together in the last year. Everything we’ve done to help save people’s jobs, business and – above all – their lives. I know that despite the challenges we have been through over the past year – together we can rise to meet this moment and come back stronger.”

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