Members of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have agreed initial priorities in negotiations around devolution.
After meeting yesterday, Cllr Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, and Leader of Wirral Council, said: 'Our devolution document submitted on 4 September 2015 set out a wide range of devolution proposals – more than 50 specific proposals across 14 key themes. All of these are important in helping to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the City Region’s residents and communities.
'To make progress in this initial round of negotiations, we will develop further the proposals that deal with Economic Development, Transport, Planning for Development and Employment and Skills. Negotiations against all themes and proposals will commence following this initial phase ad continue through the next 18 months and beyond.
'The Government has indicated it wants to negotiate in advance of the Spending Review in November. The proposals we are focusing on in this first stage are the highest profile areas likely to be impacted by the Spending Review. Within those negotiations we have to understand what the devolution of powers, influence and funding resource from Whitehall to the City Region may be.'
Presenting an update on the devolution process Liverpool City Council Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald reminded the members of the scope of the negotiations.
He said: 'The Spending Review is the first formal milestone in the devolution journey timeline. We will negotiate to ensure that in any negotiations on money or other resources, are at least ‘fiscally neutral’ – that is, no money or spending power is lost to the City Region – in fact, where possible we will look for additional financial support to make a positive contribution.'
Robert Hough, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, added: 'The business community across the City Region has come together behind the Combined Authority’s approach. Groups representing hundreds of businesses and more than 150,000 City Region employees look forward to engaging with the Combined Authority on negotiations on transport, skills, business support and enabling economic growth and will offer constructive support and advice.'
Further stakeholder engagement is being developed over the next six weeks.
Regular updates on the development of a devolution deal for the Liverpool City Region will be presented to the Combined Authority. The next meeting will take place on Friday, 16 October 2015 at 11.30am.