The city region has set up an economic recovery taskforce aimed at lifting the local economy after a bruising from the lockdown.
The taskforce, chaired by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, comprises council leaders, business leaders, members of the local enterprise partnership, representatives from central government, and other national bodies.
Its priority will be to “maximise the impact of economic recovery funding to help individuals, businesses, third sector, public and community organisations build back better in the aftermath of the pandemic,” the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said in a statement to media.
Rotheram has already slammed Whitehall’s financial support to Liverpool during the coronavirus pandemic as a “disgrace” and claimed the city region has a £137m funding black hole as a result.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week pledged to review central Government funding to Liverpool and Knowsley councils – the latter claims to have a £44m black hole as a result of the pandemic – after both authorities said the level of support has been inadequate to properly support citizens and businesses.
The task force is expected to meet regularly, initially once a month, for the next 12-18 months. It will be staffed by combined authority officers, maintaining close links with member councils.
Rotheram said: “I am doing all I can to help local businesses survive in the here and now, but it’s important to begin planning for how we rebuild and grow after the coronavirus.
“Before this pandemic struck, the Liverpool City Region had the fastest gross value added (GVA) growth in the whole of England, at 3.5%, and well above average productivity growth.
“We can [still] make a huge contribution to national economic recovery but the scale of the challenge is such that we will need major support from Government.”
The task force will enable the city region to “gain a clear understanding of national funding so we can maximise its impact across the city region, while making sure that national funding programmes understand and reflect our local needs”, Rotheram added.
“It will also give our region a single, united voice to lobby Government for the funding and programmes that we need.”
The city region has yet to publish its practical strategy for releasing the city from lockdown. A spokesperson for Liverpool City Council told Place North West that plans were being devised.