O’Neill brought in to shape Liverpool’s future

A step-change in ambition and delivery has underpinned Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram’s invitation to Lord Jim O’Neill to look at the region’s growth strategies.

This is the first stage of work on the strategic economic review that formed a key manifesto pledge in Rotheram’s mayoral campaign.

O’Neill is best known as the former head of global economic research at Goldman Sachs, and was also one of a five-strong panel that undertook the Manchester Independent Economic Review in 2009.

Rotheram said: “Jim has an incredible CV and has agreed to conduct an initial review of our existing growth strategies to see how we can add value and impetus moving forward. This is not a blank sheet review.

“The city region has made great progress, but an evidence-based longer-term perspective similar, to those in place in Manchester and London, could help us to focus our energies and resources more efficiently.

“I have been very clear that my priority is to see a step-change in ambition and delivery for the city region in terms of economic growth. It makes perfect sense to bring in experts with the experience and reputation of Lord O’Neill to help us achieve that.”

Last week, O’Neill took part in a roundtable discussion convened by Rotheram, which included the Combined Authority economic portfolio holder, Cllr Phil Davies along with business leaders and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

He said: “This was a very positive and energetic meeting, and it’s clear that the Metro Mayor and Liverpool City Region are determined to grasp the opportunity of devolution to accelerate growth and realise the potential of some outstanding economic assets. I look forward to reviewing some of the region’s key strategies and documents and helping them to focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

O’Neill, who held a role as figurehead of the Northern Powerhouse in George Osborne’s Treasury for a spell following his time at Goldman Sachs, chaired the City Growth Commission and was a key part in the devolution agenda driven forward by Osborne.

Awarded a peerage in 2015, he also hit the headlines as a key figure in the Red Knights business group that proposed a takeover from the unpopular Glazer regime at Manchester United in 2010.

Asif Hamid, chair of Liverpool City Region LEP, said: ”The City Region Growth Strategy: Building our Future, has provided a great foundation. We welcome the opportunity to work with Lord O’Neill and others to build on this foundation to ensure that we can realise our city region’s remarkable economic potential.”

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