The Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor wants guarantees from government the area is “top of the list” to receive further devolution powers like those handed to neighbouring Manchester.
In his budget announcement on Wednesday, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt confirmed the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) led by Andy Burnham will gain full control over local funding through a single budget. Greater Manchester was selected as one of two “trailblazer” areas and means the authority won’t have to bid for select pots of cash.
Reacting to the announcement, Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said he wants our region to be next in line for further autonomy and powers directed away from Westminster. He said: “While the trailblazer devolution deals are undeniably a step in the right direction – I want guarantees from the Chancellor that the Liverpool City Region will be top of the list to next receive these additional powers and unlock more growth for our economy.
“It is long overdue that the government recognise that local leaders, making decisions locally, understand the needs and priorities of their areas far better than those in the Whitehall and Westminster bubble.”
In his budget statement the Chancellor said the deals done in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands yesterday were plans he intended to roll out “for all mayoral areas over time.” As part of its deal, GMCA will keep 100% of its business rates and work alongside Great British Railways to develop the roll out of its Bee Network by 2030.
Mr Rotheram said while the authority down the M62 was getting a single budget from now on, LCRCA will continue to lobby government for further support in a bid to gain additional powers. He said: “It is important to recognise that none of these funding pots would be available to areas like ours before devolution – and we will continue to work hard to wrestle as much money and powers from central government to allow us to continue to chart our own path and deliver for the 1.6m residents who call our area home.”
The Metro Mayor acknowledged the announcement of a second £8.8bn city region sustainable transport settlement fund which he described as having the potential to be “transformational” for areas like the Liverpool City Region. He added: “I am looking forward to receiving the funding framework to see how we can capitalise on the opportunity to continue building the 21st century network that our residents deserve.”
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