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Combined Authority budget prioritises developing public transport, growing the economy and improving lives

AMBITIOUS plans to develop public transport, grow the economy and improve lives are central to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's budget for 2023 to 2024.

The budget, to be considered at next week's Combined Authority meeting, sets out millions of pounds of funding to deliver core objectives that will grow the economy, create jobs and build a stronger and fairer City Region.

It also acknowledges the pressures that inflation, rising energy costs and the national economic situation are placing on the public sector, the wider economy and on City Region residents.

The budget contains plans to freeze the Mayoral Precept for the 4th year running; as Mayor Steve Rotheram 'tries to shield people from the worst excesses of the cost of livingcrisis.' The move comes just weeks after the Mayor unveiled a £4.7m package of cost of livingsupport including:- advice for the hardest hit and help with digital inclusion.

And in a bid to keep travel affordable for residents, Mayor Rotheram has already introduced several cost-saving measures to the City Region's public transport including £2 single adult bus fares and a freeze on the cost of the young person's MyTicket that gives unlimited, all-day travel in the City Region.

The budget also identifies how the Authority will ensure a balanced and sustainable budget in coming years, while continuing to deliver on its priorities. More than £5m of savings have already been identified through modernising how the Authority operates.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:- "This is without doubt the most difficult budget I have had to put together during my time as Mayor. Pressures out of our control have seen costs rising across the board and, as anybody managing a household budget will understand, soaring inflation means that Combined Authority funding does not stretch as far as it would have this time last year. It is something that people across the Region will be all too familiar with. The knock on effects of Putin's invasion of Ukraine coupled with the actions; and inaction; of the Government have seen ordinary people hit by a perfect storm of soaring energy bills, stagnant wages and sky-high inflation. The Combined Authority is not immune to these pressures. Wherever possible, working alongside our local Council leaders, we have tried to shield people from the worst excesses of the cost of living crisis and not place an undue burden on those who cannot afford it" including a £5m investment to support households through the coming months. The budget we are proposing will help us continue to prop up the Region's bus network, support rough sleepers off the streets and into housing, give our young people the skills, training and opportunities they need to succeed, and continuing to attract new jobs and investment into the Region. Through devolution, and greater local decision making, we are charting our own course, protecting our residents where the Government will not, and ensuring that we put ourselves in a position to succeed even in these difficult times. Working together, we will build the fairest, most inclusive Region possible, where no 1 is left behind."

The move to freeze the Mayoral precept recognises the financial challenges facing households while prioritising digital connectivity, tidal energy, bus reform and other projects that will deliver significant and long term benefits to the City Region.

The budget includes:- plans to invest more than £10m in Business and Innovation during 2023 to 2024 to grow the economy and create jobs. More than £23m is earmarked for housing related projects, including:- preparing previously developed land to build homes, and millions of pounds will support adult education.

More than £20m will also support development of Southport's Marine Lake Events Centre and film studios, at the former Littlewoods building.

The biggest investment is in public transport to support the Mayor's wider vision to build a London style integrated transport network that is:- faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable, providing residents with a genuine alternative to the car.

This includes:- investments in brand new, publicly owned trains, a fleet of hydrogen buses and more than £50m invested in new walking and cycling infrastructure. It also includes investment in new train stations, including Headbolt Lane in Kirkby, a new Mersey Ferry and Green Bus Routes.

The transport levy paid by the Local Authorities to support operational transport activities will increase by 2.95%, that is well below the national rate of inflation.

The budget also includes:- increases in some transport fees and charges, however Liverpool City Region residents will continue to pay the lowest tunnel tolls.

Under the budget proposals local people travelling through the Mersey Tunnels will continue to pay the lowest prices. With 45% of all Mersey Tunnels users being T-Flow or Fast Tag holders living in the City Region, tens of thousands of people every day will benefit from the lowest toll available.

Fares for supported bus services will be capped at £2, in line with the new reduced adult single fare introduced by Mayor Rotheram, while young people's fares on the same routes will be capped at £1.

Mersey Ferries commuter passengers' fares will remain frozen; £2.90 for a single and £3.80 for a return journe; which it is hoped will encourage more people to use them.

Stemcellscousers Tesco Community Grants

BACK in September 2022 the StemCellScousers who fundraise to recruit new Stem Cell Donors and support Blood Cancer Charities resumed their fundraising activities after the Pandemic and were able to donate £2,329.00 to the Anthony Nolan Charity enabling them to recruit 58 New StemCell Donors. £200.00 to the Leukaemia Care Charity, £200.00 to the L6 Centre in Liverpool for their Mobil Santa's Grotto To go to Alder Hey Children's Hospital and £200.00 to the Royal Liverpool Hospital.

The final event in December was Christmas Raffel,'s at the Freshfield Pub, in Formby, which raised £415.00, and was supported by the Mayor of Sefton, Cllr Clare Carragher.

StemCellScousers was founded in 2015 by Kevin Dunne with some friends and family after the Anthony Nolan found his wife the only matching Stemcell donor in the world and cured her Leukaemia.

To date they have raised a fabulous £62,875.00 and wish to thank their very generous extended family, Sefton residents and business's and Not least their dedicated volunteers for their amazing support making this possible.

StemCellScousers are now trying to raise £1500.00 to buy a Branded Gazebo, New Banners, tabling etc, enabling them to fundraising at events like the Formby Festival and Southport Flower Show.

They have been accepted for a Tesco Community Grant ( Blue Token Scheme) starting 15. January to 15. March 2023. In Tesco Kew, Tesco express's in:- ChapelL St. Ainsdale, Birkdale, Eastbank Street. Alvert Road. (Esso garage) and Churchtown.

StemCellScousers are appealing for support from the public to vote for them with their:- 'BLUE TOKENS.'

In 2021 the Anthony Nolan found 1050 UK Blood Cancer Patients and 280 International Patients a Life Saving Donor. Very Sadly 1450 UK Patients Failed to find their LifeSaver.

Together we Can Change This.

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