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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-07-10

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Liverpool City Region can use devolution to innovate ways to create great jobs

A new report sets out how Liverpool City Region can create new jobs, with decent pay and conditions, by using devolved powers to pursue place based and innovative industrial strategy. How to deliver great jobs: towards a regional industrial strategy for Liverpool City Region was commissioned by the TUC and written by the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice, University of Liverpool. It finds longstanding problems, including:- high unemployment, low productivity, pockets of entrenched deprivation, and a weak skills base. And it identifies challenges ahead, such as ongoing public sector austerity, and the future loss from of ₤100m a year of funds that currently come from the European Union.

But it finds opportunities too. Devolution is allowing Liverpool City Region to take more control of the funds and decisions that can lead to job creation. And it provides an opportunity to pursue 'inclusive growth,' so that Liverpool's bedrock sectors, like manufacturing and the visitor economy, have the support needed to create better quality jobs.

Devolution also allows the opportunity to take risks and try new approaches, learning from innovative models such as Cleveland Ohio's focus on 'anchor institutions' (for example the University of Liverpool), or the support the Basque Country in Spain has given to large scale cooperative businesses.

TUC Regional Secretary for North West England Lynn Collins said:- "We want working people to be able to get skilled work that's close to home, pays well and gives them the chance to get on in life.  We must build on our bedrock industries, like manufacturing and tourism, so they have support and trained workers to deliver more great quality jobs. And we must draw on Liverpool's proud heritage of creativity to innovate new approaches. Devolution must not just be a transfer of power from 1 level of Government to another. It must be about giving workers more of a say in shaping the economy too. That's why new partnership bodies for unions, employers and Government are such an important part of the plan."

Dr Alan Southern, from the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice at the University of Liverpool said:- "Industrial strategy must address the UK's regional inequalities. Our research suggests that devolution can frame that debate. With Liverpool City Region's new powers, we can choose policies that help make work more secure. And we can choose to spend public funds in ways that improve economic and social outcomes.  We found a will, and a momentum, to support approaches by the Metro Mayor and Combined Authority that improve locals business and the quality of work. We have strong industries, such as a highly productive manufacturing sector, and an economically important public sector. The challenge is to bring more benefits from these sectors to local people. While devolution can play a major role, it must be backed by action from central Government to tackle work insecurity. And we should consider the case for greater devolution, so we can take more control through local democracy, and choose to invest more in modern infrastructure and supporting small businesses."


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