BUDGET: Liverpool, Manchester gain more powers

Further freedoms to control public spending locally were awarded around criminal justice in Greater Manchester and transport in Liverpool.

Mayor Joe Anderson, chairman of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said: “I’m pleased the Chancellor has today announced further opportunities for devolution. It is, as I have always said, a continuous process and follows on from last November’s deal. I have always said that deals have to work in our collective regional interest so I am pleased there is the potential for additional new powers and responsibilities that will be negotiated to help us take our city region forward by growing our economy and protecting and delivering better services.”

Osborne said the updated devolution deal “builds upon Liverpool’s mayoral deal on 17 November 2015, and gives Liverpool additional new powers over transport, pilots the approach to 100% business rate retention across the city region, and commits the city region and government to work together on children’s services, health, housing and justice.”

Anderson added: “We’ve been in talks with [Osborne’s] officials for some time, making the case that decisions made locally usually work best. So I’m particularly pleased we will be helping pilot the proposal for keeping 100% of business rates. By playing a constructive role in this review, we will help ensure the needs of other local authorities with similar social and economic challenges to our own are ironed out and the design of the final policy is fair and equitable.

“I also welcome the developments in skills policy, with the City Region taking on responsibility for the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers, allowing us to shape the grant support to fit local needs here in the City Region. Matching supply of skills with actual demand has to be the right approach.”

Commenting on the other additional powers, Mayor Anderson said: “The other changes announced today, particularly the Government’s commitment to work with the City Region to explore Clean Air Zones, are welcome and could contribute towards achieving Air Quality Plan objectives at local and national level  A series of traffic powers similar to those held by the Mayor of London would also be practical, common sense measures to help address issues arising from road congestion.

“Meanwhile, ongoing discussions continue with our health partners around integrating health and social care to focus on preventing acute stresses on the NHS and reviewing how children’s services across the City Region can collaborate on issues like adoption, which we believe will help all the authorities in the City Region work together to address issues in common.”

For Greater Manchester, there was praise as the Chancellor called the city region “a trailblazer for devolution in England.”

He went on to say “government will work with Greater Manchester on the devolution of powers over criminal justice services, as well as supporting the establishment of a Life Chances Investment Fund. The radical devolution of justice responsibilities will enable Greater Manchester to offer seamless interventions for offenders as they transition between prisons and the community, and to join up public services to tackle the causes of crime and prevent reoffending.”

There was also a stretching of the Northern Powerhouse devolution agenda across the border into North Wales. Osborne said: “This Budget opens the door to a growth deal for North Wales to help strengthen its economy and to make the most of its connection to the Northern Powerhouse. This government will look to the next Welsh Government to devolve powers down and invest into the region as part of any future deal.”

Next year, over half of the population of the Northern Powerhouse, the Chancellor said, would be able to vote for a directly elected metro mayor under the terms of the devolution deals set out to date.

The Chancellor thanked influential Manchester economist, now Tory peer, Lord Jim O’Neill, for his “superhuman efforts” in rolling out devolution.

Existing deals in Greater Manchester, Sheffield City Region, the North East, Tees Valley, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands, will be followed by “new mayoral devolution deals with English counties and southern cities too, reaching agreements with the West of England, East Anglia and Greater Lincolnshire.”

Amy Hopkinson, head of the Manchester office of public affairs and political engagement consultancy, Remarkable, said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s continuing commitment to let cities and regions decide how money is spent, and the emphasis on new elected mayors and on infrastructure funding underlines his personal investment in the Northern Powerhouse. If the concept is to continue to be worthwhile, the next year must see delivery on the rhetoric, ready for the first city-region elected mayors in 2017.”

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “The new deal for the West of England represents a welcome commitment from the Government to extending its devolution agenda, and will be particularly important to improving the UK’s poor productivity. But the Government also needs to hold up its end of the deal on devolution and resist the temptation to shift the goalposts as local government prepares to take on more responsibilities.

“In particular, the new plans to permanently raise the threshold for small business rate relief will impact on local government revenue in the short-term, and will reduce the annual funding available for local government by at least £1bn when business rates are devolved in 2020.

“It’s good to see a commitment from the Government to compensate local authorities for this, but it will be important to retain incentives for places to grow local tax revenue, rather than distributing money from a national fund. Local leaders have had to overcome significant challenges to agree devolution deals in the first place – now the Government must keep to its end of the bargain, and ensure local areas can deliver the services expected of them and benefit from the decisions they make.”

Your Comments

Read our comments policy

Unsurprisingly, that Centre for Cities graphic is wrong. Sefton (containing Bootle), Knowsley (containing Kirkby and Huyton and Prescot) Halton (containing Widnes and Runcorn) and St Helens (containing Thatto Heath) are constituent members of the City’s Combined Authority. And hardly rural outposts.

Versus a rather interesting interpretation for Greater Manchester, where distant Wigan is apparently now a fully fledged part of Manchester the city.

By Mike

The graphic is correct Mike.

By Max

How so Max?

By Craig

The map makes no sense – Only Salford and Manchester are cities within Greater Manchester – If you’re doing it like that, then St. Helens and Sefton should also be included.

Also, districts like South Gloucestershire and Telford & Wrekin are classed as cities, when they’re not.

By Rob

No such thing as Northern Powerhouse. Osborne refers to his ‘pet’ project Manchester where a lot of behind doors wheeling and dealing takes place. It was same under New Labour.

By George

Cities in their purest definition are economic entities. It is a fact that the economic links within Greater Merseyside to the core area are much weaker than they are within Greater Manchester. Data shows that Greater Merseyside is a multi-polar county whereas Greater Manchester functions much more as a coherent and monocentric city-like unit.

By Anon

Complete nonsense, the silliness underlined by your use of the term “Greater Merseyside”. I would wager that Wigan has stronger links with the Liverpool boroughs that the Manchester ones, St Helens in particular.

Even ONS statistics (data) shows Liverpool City Region/Greater Liverpool to be a highly mono-centric area, with predominantly inward commuting patterns.

By Mike

Greater Merseyside is the correct term for a county defined by complex commuting, labour market and business trading patterns that are a long way from being mono-centric in nature.

By Anon

Mike is right about Wigan. It is a bizarre anomaly that it was ever put in GM. Similar with Bolton. Both those towns should have remained in Lancashire. The other places in GM have only recently become more linked to Manchester,because of Metrolink. It has never been A Mother city to the old milltowns to the North.GM would have made more sense to have taken in places like Wilmslow,Knutsford or Warrington and those places around the Airport,as they are more economically linked to the city.I believe Wilmslow threw it’s dummy out of it’s pram and was allowed to stay in Cheshire?

By Elephant

All sorts of wrong there Elephant. Spinning, weaving, dyeing, manufacture and engineering were all work associated with the refining and production of finished cotton. Different towns, including Wigan and Bolton specialised in different parts of the process but they were all part of the same economic system. Many of the historic economic links between the different towns and cities of Greater Manchester endure to the present day.

By Anon

I was born in Oldham the greatest Cotton producing town on the planet,so you are wrong Anon.Working people in those towns rarely visited Manchester,as late as the 60s,when I was born and nobody in those great Lancashire towns regards Manchester has ‘town’ in the way people in Edgware or Ealing,would class London. A few Mill owners went to Manchester to the Royal Exchange,but it was never a commuter city,as London is. There was a distinct autonomy about those towns,hence the epic scale of the Town halls and civic buildings. They were never dormitory towns for Manchester.The towns in South Manchester and North Cheshire,fitted that bill.Liverpool on the other hand was always were masses of people from the Wirral worked and there is footage of thousands of people from there swarming from the ferries and underground trains into Liverpool.

By Elephant

Well, Anon, all I can say there is I can cite you official statistics showing the various boroughs being classed as dependent boroughs on the core with an overwhelming commuting pattern into the centre, classified as a monocentric city region.

What can you cite other than your own strange world view, which idealises Manchester and clearly seeks to denigrate Liverpool.

By Mike

You’ve completely missed the point Elephant. If you accept that cities are primarily economic entities (which makes sense since why do business cluster together if not to trade with each other or draw on a common supply chain) then Oldham is and always has been an integral part of a Greater Manchester economy. Cotton spun in the town was then sent to other parts of the conurbation for weaving, dyeing, finishing, manufacturing, merchandising, selling and exporting. Then you have all the associated engineering trades and the commercial functions of exchange, banking, insurance, warehousing and selling which occurred in the centre of Manchester. The whole of Greater Mancheter was and still is a self contained economic system of which Oldham, Bolton and Wigan were important component parts. It’s just the nature of those economic links have changed with more employment drawn to city centres as the ‘knowledge economy’ has prevailed. What you’re talking about are social and cultural links which form a component of how we might define a city but you find the same complexity of overlapping identities in all major cities; but the main factor in defining a city, logically, are those economic links.

By Anon

Yes, Centre for Cities always shows bias by its warped definitions that always favour Manchester. Liverpool is mother city for PEOPLE from the north Sefton coast to the middle of Cheshire and from Skelmersdale to West Kirkby and any definitions that can leave out Bootle with Seaforth, my home town containing most of Liverpool’s docks for at least the past 50 years is just crazy. Revise your graphics and definitions Centre for Cities or lose all credibility. The further devolution to Liverpool (for the 1.5 million living within the current city region boundaries) is really good news!

By Gwydion

Anon. You have some valid points,but emotionally if that is the right word,there is very little connection between these industrial towns.Manchester was just the biggest of a lot of large Lancashire boroughs.If this relationship had been so intense,as you say,then Manchester would now be the largest,non capital city in Europe and would have swallowed up it’s environs,as London did. Manchester,didn’t even infringe on Salford that much,even the buses were a different colour.If Manchester had disappeared at this time,then those great towns would have quickly filled the void it left.This would not happen now,as they are more reliant on being close to it for employment,as it has,as you say,a different economy.As a child I only knew one person on my street who worked in Manchester and he worked in Trafford Park,everyone else worked locally,mainly in industry.My main argument is that Manchester was never a commuter town for people in these towns. They protected their independence with real passion and some parts of Greater Oldham weren’t even in Lancashire,let alone a Manchester catchment area. They had their own traditions and distinctly different dialects.People on the Wirral,speak with an obvious Merseyside accent,as they integrated with Liverpool.People in Oldham and similar towns speak nothing like Mancunians.Oldham even had it’s own exclusive shopping district for it’s industrialists around Mumps.There may have been similarities in what they manufactured,but these towns were autonomous.

By Elephant

Elephant – you’ve missed the point again. They were not autonomous towns since their economies were dependent and linked to all other parts of the conurbation involved in the cotton trade. Nobody mentioned 19th century commuting patterns (although quite why you distinguish between people moving but neglect the goods that moved along the roads, canals and railways within Greater Manchester is not clear).

On the basis of your argument, the people that live in the East End of London, and who similarly have a distinctly different accent and culture to the rest of London live in a different city. This is a completely arbitrary and nonsensical argument which is why when looking at how you define a city, you look at economic links only.

By Anon

You’ll come undone on this one Anon. The identity in the Liverpool area is so powerful and people feel so passionately about it that the city’s identity is crystal clear. Even on the economic side your arguments vis-a-vis Elephant collapse. All those Lancashire towns relied on Liverpool exporting their goods for their growth and development. Liverpool was crucial to the development of all these towns for a period of about 200 years! Not Manchester…..

By Gwydion

Stop living the past people, history counts for nothing.

By Johnson

It counts for more than you think Johnson, but you’re right it’s the present that matters, and Liverpool is doing well and it’s remarkable progress should be recognised also by ‘think tanks’ that pump out misleading information.

By Gwydion

Hoisted by your own petard there Gwidyon. In terms of export, Liverpool was no more important than anywhere else equipped with a dock and some ships for the physical shipment of merchandise since the export trade was actually carried out at the Royal Exchange.

By Anon

Anon.your reference to the people of East London is a strange one. People in East London are Londoners.A different demograph to Kensington and Chelsea granted,but still Londoners. People in the milltowns around Manchester are not and never have been Mancunians.This is why Manchester has a small population for such a prominent city,because it did not spread,as London did to it’s neighbouring towns.The Greater Manchester ‘idea’ was manufactured by Central government and did not organically grow as London and to a lesser extent Merseyside did,as a functioning Metropolis.There are a number of factors,as to why this did not happen.Public transport played a huge part,as Manchester had no Underground taking people directly to the centre,from outlying areas.Liverpool has always been easily accessible from Birkenhead,Southport and industrial West Lancs,There was also independent local government within the other towns,with rich traditions,which guarded that independence.As a child I had no idea where Altrincham for arguments sake, was. It may as well have been Cornwall,for all the relevance it had to my life.This is because GM never functioned as a unit.Manchester was very parochial and of course Salford’s city status had an effect on Manchester’s growth over the Irwell.That is still the case today to an extent,as MCC have no say in development on that side of the river,even though it is very central.

By Elephant

Elephant you seem to have a very basic understanding of how economies function and know even less about how Greater Manchester economy grew and functioned.

A city’s economy is an organic thing and is influenced by not by artificial local authority boindaries but by trading and labour market relationships, both of which, as should be patently clear, transcend bureaucratic boundaries. As explained Greater Manchester is and always has been a functional economic area and on that most fundamental definition, consititues a city. You’re tying yourself in knots here by claiming that a localised accent or a community’s habits marks a city’s boundary, then simply asserting that your rules do not apply to the east end! It all gets rather convoluted doesn’t it which is why cities are defined by their economic relationships rather than arbitrary factors such as a variation in local accent.

Incidentally there is a healthy separatist movement on the Wirral which has long regarded itself part of Cheshire, has strong economic links to Chester and Runcorn and has long resented the idea of being part of Merseyside.

By Anon

Anon.GM is not a real county.It was made up by Bureaucrats in 1974.Merseyside was too,but it always worked as a conurbation prior to 1974,a bit like New York functions with New Jersey. In a hundred years time what you say,will be true,but Manchester has never been the Mother city of South East Lancashire.Even today Manchester has a lower footfall from it’s environs even than Leeds at rush hour.It doesn’t even have an amalgamated relationship with Salford.The big towns around it prior to de-industrialisation would have functioned without it.Places in the South East would not have without London and places on Merseyside would not have without Liverpool.

By Elephant

Anon. You really do have a bee in your bonnet. What does it matter to you that the Liverpool City Region should have proper recognition from a tin-pot think tank like Centre for Cities….
And your determination to argue that cities are just economic. Try telling that to people in New York or Paris or any other city with a strong identity like Liverpool.
In any case on any economic basis you cannot justify classifying the Port of Liverpool as a part of a non-city area within the Liverpool combined authority. Bootle, Seaforth and Crosby for that matter have always been part of the city proper. The World’s first electric overhead railway linked all these areas with Liverpool from 1893. My Dad (born 1930) was from Seaforth and he was definitely a Liverpudlian, (or a Wacker as we used to call ourselves), and he would used this elevated electric railway to get to work seven and a half miles away on the other side of the city centre in Dingle.

By Gwydion

Elephant, you could not be more wrong. At the risk of repeating myself, if you accept that cities are primarily economic entities (which makes sense since why do business cluster together if not to trade with each other or draw on a common supply chain) then Oldham is and always has been an integral part of a Greater Manchester economy. Cotton spun in the town was then sent to other parts of the conurbation for weaving, dyeing, finishing, manufacturing, merchandising, selling and exporting. Then you have all the associated engineering trades and the commercial functions of exchange, banking, insurance, warehousing and selling which occurred in the centre of Manchester. The whole of Greater Mancheter was and still is a self contained, inter dependent, economic system of which Oldham, Bolton and Wigan were important component parts. They could not have been autonomous towns since their economies were dependent and linked to all other parts of the conurbation involved in the cotton trade.

Greater Manchster is therefore congruent with the historic and current day economic geography of the city. You cannot just revise history and economics to match your own peculiar take on the world.

By Anon

Gonna have to bash some heads together here.

Greater Manchester is a big orrible splurge of a place, with lots of places with their own strong identities. Liverpool is a bit of a splurge, with a strong identity and a bit of an identity in some places on the fringes.

People travel and trade between the two conurbations on a daily basis.

By Gregg

Just get the map right. And cotton is still traded using rules set in Liverpool. 60% of the world’s cotton is still traded using the rules established by the Liverpool Cotton Association. More than 60 countries still defer to the Liverpool Cotton Exchange in these matters.

By Gwydion

Raw cotton Gwydion. The export trade was centred in Manchester.

By Anon

In Australia bedding is known as Manchester. The industrial revolution centred on Manchester and this fact is taught in schools as far away as Canada

By Manitoba

Anon has a natural Mancunian built in superiority complex.So many people believe Manchester was and is,more important than it actually was and is.Manchester stops at Newton Heath i’m afraid,however you try to stretch it to the West Yorkshire border.It stops at the Irwell,it stops at Clayton and it stops at the Airport.

By Elephant

Manchester is much bigger than you think. Why do people from Chadderton, Whitefield, Worsley, Marple, Altrincham and Stalybridge consider themselves Mancunian if they aren’t?

By Welshie

Elephant, if you really think local authority boundaries define a city then you really are clueless (although I note you keep changing your criteria!). I suspect the truth is that you understand that administrative boundaries hold little significance but having started an argument and having been shown up as having little real grasp on either history or economics you’re having to make things up as you go along.

Anyone with even a rudimentary grasp on things will understand that Manchester’s economic footprint is largely congruent with Greater Mancheter and on some measures extends beyond that into surrounding areas.

By Anon

People in Chadderton do not even regard themselves as Oldhamers Welshie let alone Mancunians and I doubt people in Marple would associate themselves with Manchester..Anon,you are still unable to grasp the basic premise that Manchester was never the Mother city to the people living in the towns around it.Manchester economically to the people in these towns,was similar to how Leeds was to the West Yorkshire Hinterland.Somewhere where you went to see Father Christmas once a year.Manchester’s nearness to these places,has had no cultural effect on them whatsoever.They remain separate towns.Trying to make Manchester bigger by stealth,is sadly a figment of your imagination.Manchester’s current population is just half a million. That is about the same as Bristol. Hardly makes it a Megacity. The towns around Manchester to the North,were forced into a conurbation they did not want.

By Elephant

I think the basic thing here is – Manchester tends to try and swallow up whatever it can. You just don’t get Huyton getting called Merseyside – its just Huyton or Knowsley. I think that’s because the identify is so strong both in Liverpool and these other places. And you wouldn’t get St Helens in all this because that’s St Helens. End of. But I do personally believe that Manchester would like to swallow up what it can – whereas Liverpool does not necessarily want to. Just an opinion/observation.

By Mary Smiley

Elephant, you keep chopping and changing your argument! But you’re still failing to grasp the basic premise that all the towns and cities within Greater Manchester were linked economically to each other in a single, economic system. The way Manchester developed is exactly how other cities developed, starting off with some of the earliest mills for (in Manchester’s case) cotton processing which as activities were later exported to surrounding towns as Manchester specialised in higher order commercial activities in the core area and diversified branches of engineering and manufacture outside the core area. It’s the classic template by which cities develop and can be seen the world over.

You’re trying to argue black is white – and not very successfully!

By Anon

Professor Brian Cox is from Chadderton and definitely considers himself a manc lol.

By Blue

This debate has got a little bit ridiculous now.

Sound. Madferit. Whatever.

By Gregg

Related Articles

Sign up to receive the Place Daily Briefing

Join more than 13,000 property professionals and receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox


Join more than 13,000 property professionals and sign up to receive your free daily round-up of built environment news direct to your inbox.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

"*" indicates required fields

Your Job Field*
Other regional Publications - select below