Rod Holmes, chairman of tourism board and economic advice agency The Mersey Partnership, this morning outlined a radical new structure for the organisation.
Holmes, ex-Grosvenor projects director responsible for delivering the £1bn Liverpool One regeneration scheme, was speaking at a meeting of TMP members, attended by more than 100 people from the private and public sectors at Knowsley Hall this morning.
TMP will, Holmes said, cease trying to be all things to all people and focus on offering economic advice in four key growth areas:
Low Carbon Economy: aiming to add 7,000 'green collar' jobs to the 8,700 currently employed in the sector in Liverpool city region.
Visitor Economy: a target has been set of creating 37,000 new jobs by 2020. A strategy paper for how this will be done is due in September 2009.
Superport: hopes for future growth in Liverpool's historically strong maritime sector are largely dependent on Peel's readiness to spend £100m on the Post-Panamax terminal big enough for the new generation of ships wider than the original Panama canal. Peel has been quiet on its spending plans of late.
Knowledge Economy: connecting businesses with Liverpool's university research base will create more graduate job opportunities in sectors such as bioscience and creative/digital.
Holmes said the four areas had been identified as being capable of making a significant step change in economic performance.
TMP will establish four large task forces each consisting of dozens of private sector business people within the sector in question. Each task force will canvass its members for issues where TMP or partners can intervene to help grow businesses' productivity.
Holmes added: "The most important change [at TMP] is in attitude. We will be led by and accountable to the front line business sectors in which people work."
There will also be a general economy task force at TMP advising on all sectors of the business community and directing inward investment activity. TMP's inward investment team headed by Mark Basnett will remain in the new structure, knitting into all other task forces as well as continuing to respond to inquiries from all parts of the economy.
Cllr Ron Round, leader of Knowsley Council and chairman of the newly formed Shadow Cabinet for the Liverpool City Region, said the Multi Area Agreement was running behind schedule due to Government bureaucracy but was due to be signed in the autumn.
The MAA Cabinet will pool resources and strategies among six member local authorities – Sefton, St Helens, Wirral, Halton, Knowsley and Liverpool – on the biggest funding and policy decisions in transport, housing and the economy. Greater Manchester already has its MAA Cabinet in place in the form of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities.