Councillors have voted to change Liverpool City Council’s constitution and elect a mayor for the city. The vote follows the negotiation of a new “city deal” with central Government that will see new powers devolved to the city and the creation of a single investment fund of new and existing public and private money, initially worth £130m but with the potential to grow to £500m - £1 bn.
The council will continue to deliver statutory and frontline services. Its 90 elected members will also fulfill a formal scrutiny role of the mayor’s activities.
Among the mayor’s new powers and responsibilities under the deal would be the establishment of the first Mayoral Development Corporation outside London, supported by a Local Finance for Growth package.
This includes a new Enterprise Zone for North Liverpool and the Central Business District. This is proposed to offer incentives for companies to set up business in Liverpool and encourage existing city-based business to grow.
In addition there should be the potential to capture the entire benefit of any growth in business rates from the Enterprise Zone for use in five other key economic areas of the city – North Liverpool, the Knowledge Quarter in the city centre, Stonebridge Cross, the Eastern Approaches and Speke-Garston (referred to as Mayoral Development Zones).
An elected Mayor would also act as the chair of a new investment board which would bring together all of the City’s assets such as land, commercial and residential buildings including assets formerly owned by the North West Development Agency (NWDA).
Cities Minister Greg Clark confirmed in the Commons that the Government would contribute £75m over the remaining years of the spending review period, subject to a strong, robust business case, to be cleared by HM Treasury, to boost the city’s economic growth.
He told MPs: ”The Government place great importance on local enterprise partnerships to drive economic development, and therefore expect Liverpool to continue to work closely with the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and neighbouring authorities to ensure their support for this ‘City Deal’ and to take it forward as well as future decentralisation packages covering the local enterprise partnership area.”
In a statement he said: "This is an historic day for the people of Liverpool that will enhance the standing of this proud city both in Britain and on the world stage. When elected, Liverpool's mayor will provide the city with the strong, visible leadership that it deserves. This is an historic opportunity for Liverpool to build a prosperous future and achieve its full potential. Liverpool is showing the way forward."
9 February 2012