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Publication date:- 2017-03-10

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 5 news items.    Page - 5.

Liverpool City Region mayor - Prosperity must reach all boroughs after May's election

DRIVING up employment, wages and skills for people in all 6 boroughs in the Liverpool City Region must be the number 1 priority for the new metro mayor elected in May, according to the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

In its briefing for the candidates standing in May's elections, JRF says the new post gives Liverpool an opportunity to deliver inclusive growth; growth that benefits everyone living in the City Region.

Liverpool City Region has enjoyed an economic and social revival in recent years, and the new mayor could lead the way on ensuring all places thrive.

But there remain significant challenges to creating an inclusive economy: almost 330,000 people are income deprived and more than one in four children lives in poverty.

Analysis by JRF found significant disparities between the areas in the City Region:-


► Employment across the City Region stands at 67.7%, behind the national average of 74.1%. It falls as low as 63.2%  in Liverpool, compared to 73.7% in Halton.

► Median full time weekly wages are ₤40 a week lower in the City Region (₤504) than they are nationally (₤545), and there is considerable variation: from a median of ₤526 for people living in the Wirral to ₤475 in Knowsley.

► Liverpool City Region has a much higher proportion of entirely workless households compared to England (22.5% and 14.9% respectively). The rate of economic inactivity among the working age population is also high, and ranges from 23% in Halton to 32% in Liverpool City.

► In 2015, 53% of children in Liverpool City Region achieved five good GCSEs including English and Maths, but among children eligible for free school meals the figure is just 29%; and falls as low as 21% in Knowsley.

To deliver inclusive growth, JRF recommends the mayor:-


1. Create the conditions for more and better jobs.... Liverpool City Region has identified seven sectors with significant growth potential. The mayor can use their business and support skills powers to address issues such as skills shortages or high staff turnover and connect people in poverty to job opportunities in growing sectors. The mayor must also ensure low-paid sectors such as retail and care are supported to boost productivity and wages, working with businesses and industry bodies.

2. Close the education attainment gap... Work with local education authorities and the Regional Schools Commissioner to focus on using evidence effectively and schools supporting one another to improve attainment among children from low income backgrounds. Over time there may be a case for the powers of the Regional Schools Commissioner to transfer to the mayor.

3. Focus on access and quality in apprenticeships... Liverpool City Region has devolved responsibility for the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, and has trialled changing the incentives to prioritise younger age groups and higher qualification levels. The quality of apprenticeships remains a challenge in some areas. The Mayor could work with learners, businesses and training providers to develop an Apprenticeship Charter setting out quality standards. Pushing for powers over the apprenticeship levy would enable the mayor to ensure apprenticeships are focused on delivering better employment and earning outcomes.

4. Use their influence by making inclusive growth an explicit aim of their time in office. In the mayor's first 100 days, their 1st actions should be to:-

Create a cabinet position with responsibility for Inclusive Growth, integrating social and economic policy.

Set ambitious targets to focus action on the employment rate, and boosting educational attainment from the early years to adult skills.

Convene stakeholders across business, economic development, employment and skills providers, education and early years providers, other public service providers and civil society to develop a City Region, wider strategy for inclusive growth and solving poverty.

Katie Schmuecker, head of policy at JRF, said:- "Creating more and better jobs, and connecting people in poverty to these opportunities, must be at the heart of an inclusive growth agenda; and this should be the number 1 priority for the mayor when they take office in May.  Economic growth in Liverpool City Region increased 8.4% in the 5 years to 2014, and it has the second highest rate of high growth firms in the country. The labour market increasingly requires workers to be more highly skilled and adaptable, meaning access to training and re-training throughout working life will only become more important. Making sure everyone, wherever they live in the Liverpool City Region, is equipped with the skills and support to find and then get on in work will be crucial for the new mayor if everyone is to share the benefits of economic growth."

Popular café prosecuted over food safety concerns

A café at a popular Wirral park is making improvements after being prosecuted for falling foul of food hygiene standards.  Representatives of Shanterz, the visitor café, at Tam O'Shanter Urban Farm, pleaded guilty to four food safety offences relating to cleaning, protecting food from contamination, pest control and training of food handlers at a hearing at Wirral Magistrates Court last week. The offences had been highlighted in November 2015, when Environmental Health Officers carried out a routine inspection of the café and found standards of food hygiene were unsatisfactory and required enforcement action. At court the business was fined ₤1,500 for each offence and ordered to pay costs of ₤3,526.42, together with a victim surcharge of ₤150.

Colin Clayton, Wirral Council's Senior Manager in Environmental Services, said:- "Our aim is to support local businesses wherever possible. However, when necessary, we will take legal action in order to protect consumers from the risks associated with food poisoning. The Council wants to ensure that our businesses are healthier, safer and fairer for consumers and the business community alike. I am pleased to note that the most recent visit by Environmental Health Officers confirmed that hygiene standards at Shanterz have improved and that officers' advice was being implemented. We look forward to working with this business in future to help ensure that they are successful and that consumers' health is protected."

Do you play chess and are you a model?

WE are looking for actors and models who with like to take part in a human game of chess, that will be taking place in Southport, in June, as part of King's Garden's International Celebration Event. This fantastic event will see the area around the Marine Lake taken over by many different and interesting activities. If interested in taking part in the Human chess, please send us your information by 30 March 2017, with your full name and contact information. You must be over 18 and able to stand or sit for long periods of time, in one place. If interested, email us to:- info@vamphire.com with the subject:- "Human Chess – Southport." Please note that we can only have 32 people taking part on the board. If you have a group, say Scouts etc. who could supply a team of 16, for one side, please let us know. This is not paid, as you will be helping raise funds for The Friends of Kings Gardens. More information about the full event will be added to next week's edition.

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