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
Analysis by JRF found significant disparities between the areas in the City
► 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
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
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
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
► 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