The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority met on Friday to discuss the scope of a potential devolution deal with the Government, ahead of a bid deadline of 4 September.
According to the Combined Authority, the objectives of any submission would be to accelerate economic growth by growing jobs and increasing productivity, reform of public services locally to reduce costs and improve outcomes, and improving the lives and health and well-being of local residents by making better use of existing resources.
A successful devolution bid could allow Liverpool more decision-making powers and control over key budgets currently managed from Whitehall, such as transport, housing and planning, and health and social care.
If a bid is submitted by 4 September, it is expected that the proposals would be discussed in detail with the Government over the autumn, during which time the extent of devolution on offer would become clearer.
Friday’s discussion also included a commitment to structured engagement with stakeholders, businesses and the public following the submission of a bid.
Members were keen to emphasise that the shape of any deal is about drawing additional powers, control and resources down from London rather than taking sovereignty away from existing local authorities. Members were also clear that any actual agreement with the Government would require the approval of individual councils with appropriate consultation processes put in place.
No agreement would be reached if the Government did not commit to transfer sufficient powers to make devolution worthwhile, and no deal could be reached if Councils were not enabled to make the final decision.
Cllr Phil Davies, chairman of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and leader of Wirral Council, said: “I am pleased that we are making extremely good progress in developing the list of ‘asks’ from central government.
“This is a journey that we are on together as a City Region which could lead to us gaining significant control over resources currently decided by anonymous officials in Whitehall who know little, if anything, about our area.
“I want people to understand that this is not about taking powers away local councils and other organisations, rather it is about us deciding how best to spend public money ourselves.
“Liverpool City Region is not like any other area of the country. It has its own unique opportunities and challenges, and that is why it is so absolutely vital that funding decisions are made locally and not dictated nationally.”