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Funding secured to help deliver data led approach to tackling inequalities

LIVERPOOL City Council's public health team has secured £5 million of national funding to deliver a data-led approach to tackling inequalities. The money, from the Department of Health and Social Care, through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), will be used to create a Health Determinants Research Collaboration (HDRC).

Liverpool is 1 of eleven new areas to benefit from the scheme, which will fund research to better understand and introduce interventions to help tackle health inequalities and wider deprivation, looking at issues such as such as neighbourhood working, housing, and leisure.

The aim of the HDRCs is to help to stimulate economic growth and regeneration in some of the most deprived areas of the country and contribute to reducing pressure on NHS services by improving public health.

The Council will be supported by the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moore's University, Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Services, Healthwatch Liverpool and the business sector, using their capacity and research expertise.

The programme will go live in 2024.

Deputy Council Leader, Cllr Ruth Bennett, said:- "The programme will help us carry out work to understand the specific challenges our communities face and then use this knowledge to come up with ways to tackle the issues and improve lives. This aligns with our move to a neighbourhood model of delivering services, tailoring the work we do to the specific needs of our communities."

Professor Matt Ashton, Liverpool's Director of Public Health, said:- "Liverpool faces huge challenges in relation to health inequalities and I am pleased that we have been able to secure funding to create a Health Determinants Research Collaboration. We have a huge amount of research expertise thanks to our excellent Universities and strong partnerships across the health and community sectors, which puts us in a strong position to make a real difference."

Professor Brian Ferguson, Director of the NIHR Public Health Research Programme, said:- "People living in communities across the country face major challenges that are impacting on their health. Once again, NIHR is taking a huge stride forward in empowering local Government to develop research to improve their communities' health and wellbeing. Continued HDRC innovation will boost partnerships between local Government and the academic sector, enabling local authorities to make better evidence-informed decisions; critical given the current pressures on funding. We expect the HDRC areas to engage actively with their local communities to listen to people's views and involve them appropriately in shaping and undertaking research. By focusing on the wider determinants of health such as employment, housing, education and the physical environment, the areas we are supporting have a tremendous opportunity to make a lasting impact on health inequalities and wider deprivation."

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:- "Everyone should have access to high quality health and social care services, no matter who you are or where you live. From Cornwall to Cumberland, these local projects, backed by £55 million in Government funding through the NIHR, will help ensure that vital research funding reaches our rural and coastal communities."

Councils pilot net zero projects with £19 million Government backing

A new £19 million pilot programme will help selected Councils unlock private investment, speed up their efforts to tackle climate change and help the UK reach its net zero target.

2 Local Net Zero Accelerator pilots in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the West Midlands Combined Authority will help drive investment in multiple green projects across key sectors such as energy, housing and transport; essential to delivering on the UK's climate targets.

The Councils will decide how to allocate funding, selecting projects that will benefit their communities. These could include housing retrofit and renewable energy and transport projects, such as installing solar panels, battery storage and deploying green buses; all of which could help significantly cut emissions.

Councils have previously faced barriers to attracting private sector investment in smaller net zero programmes and one-off projects. But today's funding is designed to tackle this so they can secure investment at scale to deliver a range of green initiatives and expand decarbonisation work in the years to come.

By combining multiple green projects across different sectors, rather than requesting funding for 1 off, short term projects, the new Local Net Zero Accelerator Programme will make it easier to secure private investment in a long term, sustainable way.

A 3rd, separate pilot will be launched in the York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority, with the aim of replicating a similar, successful model in Bristol, which supported around 1,000 jobs. Bristol City Leap established an innovative public-private partnership between Bristol City Council, Ameresco Ltd and Vattenfall Heat UK, which helped secure millions of pounds worth of investment into Bristol's energy system, including:- solar, wind, heat networks, heat pumps and energy efficiency measures across the Council's estate.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, Lord Callanan, said:- "The UK is a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change. But the work we do locally is just as important for cutting emissions and delivering net zero. These pilots will help combined authorities to unlock private sector investment that they can spend on green projects they see fit locally, whether that be retrofitting housing or investing in green public transport networks; all while supporting skilled jobs, building out supply chains and growing our economy."

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Gareth Davies, said:- "Our £19 million investment is helping local Governments explore new ways to fast-track our ambitious Net Zero objectives. This initiative is pivotal in mobilising the money we need to transition and boosting green jobs and investments across the country."

Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, said:- "The Government's decision to ask our Region to help lead the drive to net zero represents a real vote of confidence in what we can do and indeed are already doing here in the West Midlands. Whether it's the strides we're making to retrofit homes; making them warmer and more energy efficient; or cutting energy bills for local businesses or indeed ensuring our transport network is more sustainable, we're taking the practical steps on the ground to advance the net zero cause. Together, we can help draw in the required public and private finance that will accelerate the rollout and take up of net zero related projects right across the UK as a whole."

Green City Lead for Greater Manchester, Councillor Tom Ross, said:- "We welcome the £7m funding to accelerate our net zero ambitions across Greater Manchester over the next 2 years. Greater Manchester has established Local Area Energy Plans which identify the £12.5bn of investment in infrastructure required, that is substantially under local authorities influence, to achieve our carbon neutral ambitions by 2038. This Accelerator funding from Government will be used to design investment models to attract private investment; which is scalable, replicable and which leads to securing investment partners capable of delivering at scale."

The 3 new schemes will be supported by a centralised finance service. Supported by around £3 million, this will give the pilots access to financial and commercial knowledge to attract private investment in the local programmes.

Meanwhile, the Greater South East Local Net Zero Hub will receive an extra £2 million to ensure independent oversight and the successful delivery of the 3 pilot schemes. The Net Zero Hubs programme was set up in 2017 and supports Local Authorities to develop net zero projects and attract commercial investment.

The lessons learnt from these pilots will be used to support other combined authorities across England deliver on net zero targets, including those within the Liverpool City Region.

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