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Thread: Merseyside City Region

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Default Merseyside City Region

    Slow off the mark
    Apr 14 2008
    by Haydon Wood, Liverpool Daily Post

    MERSEYSIDE needs to get its act together. A year ago, a government minister, Phil Woolas, announced he’d knocked heads together and the Merseyside City Region would become a reality.

    Insiders try to assure me that, under the guidance of Knowsley council leader Ron Round, work is being done to create the organisation that would be given new powers to boost skills and tackle unemployment.

    Survey after survey has shown that one of the main reasons why unemployment and low pay remain worse here than other parts of the country is lack of skills.

    So you would expect local politicians to bite the hand off a government offering to devolve power and cash to Merseyside to tackle these issues.

    But, as far as I can see, there has been little progress since Mr Woolas did his head banging.

    Instead, we see Greater Manchester’s City Region so far down the track that they are no longer talking about how nice it would be if Wigan and Stockport, Bury and Manchester could get together for a chat about things.

    Representatives of their City Region are in intensive talks with senior civil servants from the Treasury and three other key ministries to put the whole thing on a statutory basis.

    Before offering my explanation for the tardiness of Merseyside, I need to explain what these City Regions and their associated Multi Area Agreements are all about.

    As with so many issues around the way we are governed, they may seem irrelevant and dry as dust to the public. In fact, they are very important. Without structure the people perish, in my opinion.

    Believe it or not, the Government has been persuaded to release its total grip on centralised funding and decision making. It is prepared to give up some of its power to the major City Regions. So the millions of pounds spent annually on Merseyside by the unaccountable Learning and Skills Council could, in future, be decided locally. Big transport projects like a tram system or second crossing of the Mersey could be given a tremendous boost if it was jointly agreed by councils here.

    My career in journalism began on the day the now defunct Merseyside and Greater Manchester Councils were created in 1974. I reported endless rows between the proud cities of Liverpool and Manchester with these upstart counties. The spirit of unity was then no more in evidence on the Irwell than the Mersey. But, under Margaret Thatcher’s threat to privatise the jointly-owned Manchester Airport, Labour and Tory councils united to see her off. A tradition of working together was born.

    It’s taking a lot longer on Merseyside, although the need is arguably greater. Insiders who want to see the Merseyside City Region delivering on transport and skills are frustrated by the lack of progress. There’s a feeling that the core city of Liverpool is more interested in building structures to help itself, rather than marshalling behind it the united strength of Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton.

    Source: Liverpool Daily Post


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    Senior Member Waterways's Avatar
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    Rather half baked. A proper city state should be created like Hamburg. The Wirral, Knowsley and Sefton should be incorporated into Liverpool and run as one. Southport and St Helens can go back to Lancashire where they belong.
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    April 14, 2008
    Manchester in minority on city-region bodies
    By Simon Binns

    Manchester is one of only five of 13 metropolitan areas considering creating legally binding city-region bodies, which would have increased powers over funding, and is the only region to have discussed it with government, according to research by Local Government Chronicle magazine.

    City regions, or multi-area agreement funding deals, will create statutory bodies that can allocate funding and drive their own economic development.

    Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol and Blackburn-Burnley are believed to be in favour of the proposals, but Newcastle, Hull, Middlesbrough, Southampton-Portsmouth, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Liverpool and Birmingham say they had no plans to create a city region.

    Source: Crain's Manchester Business

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    Senior Member Howie's Avatar
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    Default Frank Mckenna's Business Blog

    'Liverpool United' could still match Manchester
    By Frank Mckenna on Apr 14

    Last week I took a trip over to the 'dark side', attending the annual dinner of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce at the G-Mex centre as a guest of my good friend, and Liverpool Daily Post columnist, Jim Hancock.
    There is much to admire about the lot from the other end of the East Lancashire road. From a tired and dull industrial town, Manchester has transformed itself into arguably the UK's second city.

    Some say that this has been achieved because of the city's ability to take advantage of the opportunity to regenerate its town centre following the IRA bombing it suffered in the summer of 1996. Others would point to the 'Madchester' music movement that was built around my old mate Tony Wilson's Hacienda superclub, and the factory record label that was established at the same time.
    The full-time political leadership the city council enjoys must also be seen as a factor, whilst the contrast between how Manchester won and delivered the international event that was the Commonwealth Games, compared with how we have managed the European Capital of Culture, offers an example to the outside world of a 'can do' city.
    But what was strikingly obvious, sat alongside the other 800 guests who attended Wednesday night's affair, was that this bunch has a magnificent ability across their city-region to put parochial differences to one side for the good of the wider region that is Greater Manchester.
    Not for them public spats over the route that their tram system should take; just a solid determination that the existing network will be extended and funded by central government.
    They see the location of Manchester United outside of the city boundary as a positive that enables the Manchester brand to impact on a wider audience.
    All sixteen Greater Manchester local authorities generously fund and support its inward investment agency Midas, and the political leaders meet regularly to work up strategies and future plans via a vehicle called the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).
    The Chambers of Commerce themselves have followed suit. Where we have independent Chambers throughout Merseyside, our neighbours have established a single, powerful entity that works in partnership with the political leadership. They are about to establish a sixteen-strong business leadership group that will directly feed into and influence the AGMA agenda of the future.
    I would argue that this public presentation of a 'one for all, all for one' approach has been the single most important element of the Manchester success story. And it is one that the Liverpool city-region must adopt sooner rather than later if we are to compete with Manchester and our other competitor cities.
    Liverpool united would be more than a match for any provincial European city - Manchester included - and business and political leaders must step up to the plate and make it happen.
    In the short term, what should be done?
    First, get rid of the 'M' word, once and for all. The term Merseyside may have had its uses during the dark days of the 70's and 80's, but it should be dumped along with the image that our region had back then. In marketing terms Liverpool is the brand. Liverpool city-region should be the term adopted with immediate effect.
    The re-named, Liverpool City Region Partnership, (currently the Mersey Partnership), should be developed into a properly funded, and genuinely supported strategic agency, that acts as the promotional and marketing vehicle, nationally and internationally, for the entire area.
    And we should be getting on with establishing our own Business Leadership Group, not only for the city of Liverpool, but for the wider city-region. An amalgamation of our own Chamber movement could only assist in delivering this aspiration.
    A collective approach to the marketing and governance of the Liverpool city region is not only preferable, it is essential, if we are to catch, and eventually overtake, Manchester. And that must be our medium term objective.
    For though its pragmatism and cunning have given Manchester the edge for over ten years now, as Mr Manchester Tony Wilson himself often told me 'In the UK, Manchester is the (northern) brand. But in the world it is Liverpool.'

    Source: LDPBusiness.co.uk

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    Senior Member Broliv's Avatar
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    Its more than annoying the inability for the various different councils to sit round a table and do something like this.

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