Communities Secretary Greg Clark and Lord O’Neill, advisor to the Chancellor, were in Liverpool on Tuesday morning to sign the city region’s devolution deal, paving the way for a vote on a directly elected mayor for Merseyside in 2017.
The deal comes with promised new funding allocation from Government of £30m a year over 30 years, reviewed every five years to see objectives are being met. The signing follows the bid in September by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which included 50 proposals over 14 themes. The agreement :
- City region statutory spatial framework by 2017, together with land commission and joint assets board
- Devolved housing and planning powers, bringing increased housing delivery and control of public land
- Local transport budget, to be set out at spending review next week
- Control over bus franchises
- Liverpool City Region Mayor will have the power to place a supplement on business rates to fund infrastructure, with the agreement of the local business community through the local enterprise partnership, up to a cap
- New National Migration Museum, establishment of a Liverpool Cultural Partnership to drive tourism and “engage with government to agree sustainable and viable business plan for National Museums Liverpool”
- Greater control over spending of European Union and UK Government funds
- Government-backed endowment fund for cultural sector
- Review of Mersey Tunnel tolls and options to reduce toll fees
- Government guidance to draw up new plans for a cost effective Mersey estuary tidal energy project
- Review of 16+ skills provision and devolved 19+ adult skills funding
- Funding for International Festival for Business event to be held again in 2018 and 2020
Robert Hough, chairman of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, which was involved in the bid alongside the councils, said: “The private sector support for devolution, in which the Local Enterprise Partnership has played a leading role, is immense. We very much look forward to its successful implementation.”
The council leaders are due to ratify the decision on Thursday and are expected to introduce an interim mayor to take the helm until the full mayoral election in 2017.
The deal covers the boroughs of Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton, Liverpool and Wirral. West Lancashire and Warrington are associate members, which means they can attend meetings of the combined authority but not vote.
Chancellor George Osborne was in Coventry today to sign the West Midlands devolution deal. Liverpool is the fifth Northern city region to sign a devolution deal, following Greater Manchester, Sheffield City Region, North East and Tess Valley.