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."