Devolution asks agreed

Published on: Thursday, 03-September-2015

Proposals for a Liverpool City Region devolution deal were discussed at today’s Combined Authority meeting.  The Combined Authority agreed to make its formal submission to the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review later this week on Friday, 4 September.  The submission outlines the powers, control and resources which the Combined Authority believes should be managed locally at a regional level rather than by central Government.

The Government’s forthcoming Spending Review is expected to result in more reductions in funding for the City Region, so the devolution submission highlights areas where local decision-making would help to deal with those reductions.

Any devolution deal will aim to accelerate economic growth, improve public services and improve social outcomes and create better health and wellbeing for local residents.  In addition, the deal would also build on the strong collaborative work that has already been established through the City Region’s existing and successful Growth Deal.

In a wide ranging document, requests for devolved powers include a funding settlement covering more than one year to help plan and provide sustainable services for local residents and businesses, the creation of a land commission to oversee how the public sector estate is used, maintaining Government investment in the International Festival for Business for a further two events in 2018 and 2020, local control over the Mersey Tunnel tolls, reshaping and restructuring local skills and advisory systems to respond to local needs, retaining business rates income, designating the Liverpool Wirral Port system a Free Trade Zone which would promote international trade opportunities, and managing local bus services with the ability to set routes and fares.

Cllr Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said “Our list of asks covers a range of areas where we feel that we can add value by having the resources and decision making at a local level.  We need decisions to be taken locally instead of being taken by people in Whitehall who don’t understand our priorities and concerns as well as we do.  Following our submission on Friday, I and my City Region colleagues look forward to having further discussions with Government to develop this agenda further.”

The asks will be submitted to Government on 4 September to receive Ministerial consideration.  Detailed negotiations will then follow until mid-November when the details of what is on offer will be shared with the individual local authorities.  Formal implementation of any governance arrangements would come into effect from April 2017 at the earliest.

Members of the Combined Authority also called for full engagement with the public, businesses and other stakeholders as the negotiations with Government develop over the coming months.

The devolution submission can be viewed here.

You can also watch the Special meeting of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority at which this was discussed.