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Mayor Steve Rotheram unveils radical levelling up plan to drive Liverpool City Region economy and improve lives

THE Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, has unveiled a radical plan to deliver real levelling up for the Region; creating thousands of new jobs and improving life chances for its 1.6m residents. Underpinned by more powers and greater funding, the Plan for Prosperity presents an exciting vision of economic growth up to 2035; with the creation of more than 50,000 new jobs. Innovation, skills, high tech and low carbon industries, tidal power and the Freeport are high on the agenda, with an overarching ambition to diversify the City Region's economy, boost productivity, and maximise its overall contribution to the UK economy. The plan also sets out firm commitments to improve the quality of life for Liverpool City Region residents by tackling generational inequalities, cutting carbon emissions and promoting better health and wellbeing.

Mayor Steve Rotheram said:- "For too long, too many people have been left behind by an economy that simply does not work for them. I want the Liverpool City Region to be at the forefront of the movement for a better way of doing things. This plan outlines my bold vision for a fairer, stronger and cleaner City Region, 1 that doesn't just look to boost the bottom line, but boost people's life chances. For me, true prosperity is about much more than traditional measures of economic growth. It means better personal health and wellbeing, proper access to opportunity and well paid secure work; the chance to live in safe, thriving neighbourhoods; and in a flourishing natural environment. This is the true meaning of 'levelling up:' a place where no one or no borough is left behind and meaningful opportunity and equality is shared by all. Devolution is all about doing things differently and, in radically changing the face of our economy, we're taking full advantage."

The Plan for Prosperity knits together the ambitions and priorities required to address the key challenges of the 21st century, such as:- health related economic inactivity, too few high quality jobs, and outdated, carbon intensive ways of living, working and getting around. Central to the proposals is building on the success of the Region's science hubs at the ₤1bn Knowledge Quarter Liverpool and Sci Tech Daresbury, as well as the pioneering Hynet North West hydrogen fuel switching programme, and Glass Futures, a global glass innovation and industrial decarbonisation centre in St Helens.

The City Region will also capitalise on its existing world leading strengths in industries such as infectious disease control, materials chemistry, and applied artificial intelligence. These sectors will play a significant role in helping the Region to meet its goal of spending the equivalent of 5% of the local economy on Research and Development each year by 2030. This would represent an investment nearly double the UK target, adding a ₤19.7bn boost to the economy, 44,000 new jobs, and a 10% uplift in productivity.

Meanwhile, the City Region's new Freeport status is forecast to create up to 14,000 jobs, with an estimated economic impact of ₤850m as part of a broader plan to increase the Region's export level by 10%. Building on the success of Be More, the country's 1st UCAS style careers website which recently expanded to help 10,000 people learn fresh skills or find new careers, the Region seeks to prioritise the retention of its highly skilled local workforce. This includes a particular focus on encouraging more of the City Region's 57,000 annual graduates to build a career in the area.

Looking to the future, the plan sets out the Region's intention to become the UK's renewable energy coast, exploiting its natural assets and advantages in renewable energy through wind, tidal and hydrogen. Plans are already well underway to build a fully integrated London-style transport system, that will make travelling around the Region quicker, cheaper and more reliable. It is hoped that this will help better connect communities with each other and with opportunity. By 2035, the plan aims to have unlocked the potential of people and places by helping to cut inequality and deprivation and creating a more inclusive resilient economy and a healthier population.


Local jobs, tackling inequality and combating the climate crisis at the heart of new Liverpool City Region Social Value Framework

SOCIAL value tool to help tackle City Region's deep rooted social, economic and environmental challenges... Measures to maximise local benefits to be written into contracts and funding agreements Social value to be embedded in all Combined Authority activity Mayor Steve Rotheram:- "I want to ensure that we're getting the biggest bang for our buck and making the greatest difference possible" Giving something back to the community is to be embedded in all Liverpool City Region Combined Authority activities; including the awarding of contracts and funds. Under its new social value framework, that launches today, benefits to the local community will become a much bigger part of awarding Combined Authority contracts and could include the training and employment of local people, the use of local suppliers or the inclusion of apprenticeships in contracts. Social value will help shape key decisions on where to spend or invest more than ₤100m the authority receives each year under devolution; to deliver a fairer, stronger and greener City Region with no 1 left behind. And from today, the Authority will ensure social value is a core part of decision making for all contracts above ₤20,000. Building on existing good practice, the framework goes beyond minimum social value requirements and ensures community benefits apply across all Combined Authority activities; as an employer, as a commissioner and provider of services, as an investor and a civic leader.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "As a public body, we have a duty to ensure that every pound we spend and every decision we take positively impacts the communities that we represent. Delivering prosperity for our City Region is not just about maximising the financial value that we are able to generate, but the social value too. The fantastic; and unique; thing about social value is that it measures the changes that matter to the people who need it most. And as Mayor, I want to make the Liverpool City Region the fairest, most inclusive place in the country with an economy that works for everyone. Alongside with the important work we are doing on Community Wealth Building, ensuring that we are embedding social value in everything that we do will be key to bringing that vision to life. Every year, the Combined Authority spends more than ₤100m and, in doing so, I want to ensure that we're getting the biggest bang for our buck and making the greatest difference possible. That could be by investing in projects led by underrepresented groups, improving people's confidence and ability to find work, or easing their money worries by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. I don't want the Combined Authority to just make good investments, but investments that do good too."

The Combined Authority employs more than 950 people, including:-

Hundreds of transport staff, and the framework identifies a raft of activities including increasing staff diversity, encouraging staff volunteering and developing graduate talent.

Maximising social value is already considered when the authority procures goods and services; including adult education. It uses local community organisations and social businesses through its Community Suppliers List, and providing jobs and training including for hard to reach groups is written into the housing retrofit contracts.

In the long term the authority will seek to use its influence and purchasing power to improve working conditions and wages through its supply chain and may develop opportunities for suppliers to give money to social value projects.

The Authority will also seek to increase the amount of money that is spent and retained in the local economy, and to create a more diverse suppliers list.

Social value is considered in all investments made by the Combined Authority, from large strategic projects to small green schemes receiving support from the Community Environment Fund. The authority also helped set up Kindred which invests in socially trading organisations and included:- social value into the tender process for LCR Connect, which is creating a full fibre network across the City Region.

A new tool will be developed to assess investments so that additional social value requirements can be written into all funding agreements.

The Combined Authority is already adding social value in its role as a provider of services:– including transport, training and employment and tackling homelessness.

The Housing First scheme employs people with experience of being homeless and the authority provides social value through concessionary travel, supported bus services, reduced tunnel tolls for LCR residents and other schemes.

Under the new framework, the authority will continue to develop the social value of the services it provides, and net-zero carbon goals will be embedded in all services.

As a civic leader, the authority has added social value by ensuring the views of diverse communities and all ages are considered when developing policies and programmes.

Under the new framework, it will embed social value in its spatial development strategy and continue to improve its engagement with communities.

Social value is seen as an important tool to tackle the City Region's long standing economic, social and environmental challenges that continue to affect the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the City Region's 1.6 million residents.

The framework sets out a consistent approach with day one commitments and longer term social value aspirations. It includes offering social value training to partner organisations.

Progress and impact will be monitored to identify improvements and a Year One Review will be published next Spring that will seek to measure social impact and identify best practice, that can then be shared with other authorities and institutions.

The social value framework will work in tandem with the Combined Authority's new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to tackle inequalities. It is also linked to the authority's Community Wealth Building ambitions.

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