Metro Mayor sets out City Region asks
ahead of Budget
LIVERPOOL City Region Metro Mayor Steve
Rotheram has set out his key asks from the Chancellor ahead of this week's
budget, focussing on the issues that will test the Government's genuine
commitment to devolution and economic re-balancing. The City Region's asks to
Treasury were submitted back in September, but Steve Rotheram is now anxious to
see whether the Government's devolution rhetoric will be matched by actions.
Amongst the Metro Mayor's key priorities are major infrastructure projects
including:- rail investment, digital connectivity and tidal energy, housing and
homelessness and skills.
The City Region's asks to Treasury for additional infrastructure investment
include:- a clear commitment to Northern Powerhouse Rail, support for transport
improvements within the City Region, enhanced digital connectivity, backing for
the region's burgeoning science assets and feasibility spending towards the
proposed Mersey Tidal Energy project.
Steve Rotheram said:- "We are still facing a situation where for every ₤1
spent on infrastructure in the North, ₤6 is spent in London and the South East.
This is not just about fairness, it's about recognising that rail connectivity,
a modern and efficient transport system, state of the art digital connectivity
and exploiting our renewable energy and science assets are absolutely
fundamental to our economic future. Government needs to start thinking about our
regions in a more entrepreneurial way. If you want to improve productivity, and
re-balance our economy, then you have to invest in the things that are going to
drive and accelerate growth."
The City Region has asked for additional devolved powers and resources for
housing where it believes it could make a massive difference locally, and really
get to grips with the shortage of affordable accommodation and the scandal of
The key housing asks are:-
► The creation of a devolved Housing Investment Fund to the City Region to allow
money spent by Government and the Homes and Communities Agency in the region to
be targeted to where it is most needed.
► A collaboration with Government to pioneer a radical Housing First model to
tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
► A Stamp Duty Holiday to allow the City Region to create a fund to remediate
uneconomic brown field land and boost house building in urban neighbourhoods.
Steve Rotheram said:- "This is a real no brainer and an obvious area where
modest additional resources, financial flexibility and a real commitment to
devolution would give us the tools to tackle 1 of our biggest policy priorities.
It is obviously an area where local people know best, and local decision making
can deliver a great deal more."
In addition to his asks on infrastructure and housing, the Metro Mayor is
calling for greater flexibility on skills expenditure including local control
over the underspend on the national apprenticeship levy.
Steve Rotheram said:- "Allowing us to spend money paid by businesses from
the City Region, within the City Region is both logical and efficient. It's such
a small ask, and for that reason it really does provide a measure of the
Government's willingness to relax the Whitehall knows best mantra."