Steve Rotheram is making ten new pledges to transform Liverpool City Region. He says the devolution process is a journey not a destination, and the Leaders of the region’s six districts had not created a Combined Authority to attract modest additional resources but to deliver transformational change.
The Metro Mayor, said the City Region has a unique set of assets, including the UK’s most powerful super-computer at Daresbury, cutting-edge research facilities and a cluster of digital businesses growing faster than Inner London.
He announced the launch of a six month study to make Liverpool City Region the UK’s most digitally connected region in the UK, by connecting directly to the GTT Trans-Atlantic cable that lands in the UK at Southport, and creating a region-wide fibre spine to guarantee every home, business, university, school and public building the best and fastest possible connectivity.
He's appointed respected industry leader, Brent Cheshire, until recently UK Chair of Dong Energy, as the man who will spearhead plans to harness the power of the River Mersey. He will establish the core business case for the multi-billion renewable energy project.
Other policy pledges:
- A unified and properly resourced agency to capitalise on Liverpool’s positive global brand. It would market the region internationally.
- A skills revolution. Lobby the Government so that the underspend from the National Apprenticeship Levy will be spent to roll-out degree-level apprenticeships and create a single UCAS-style city region-wide portal for apprentices.
- Build 25,000 new homes as part of a major initiative to tackle the housing shortage by 2022. The homes would be in the right places and with a variety of types and tenures to ensure everyone has access to a decent and affordable home.
- Tackle homelessness. Work with Government to fund a trail-blazing Housing First approach to make sure new homes are made available to those in greatest need
- Adopt a brownfield first approach to new housing development by publishing the first ever City Region Brown Field Register.
- Backing up the £460 million investment in new rolling stock for Merseyrail by exploring how devolution powers and bus regulation can be best used to create a fully integrated public transport system.
- Make access to public transport better by rebranding and remodelling the current Walrus card for smart ticketing and new payment methods.
- Making cross-river transport easier and more affordable to create a more affordable Fast Tag for Mersey Tunnel users, and announcing the commissioning of the design for a new state of the art Mersey Ferry.
- Setting out the City Region’s future devolution ambitions and begin discussion about how to integrate Fire and Rescue, Waste Disposal and powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner into a future Combined Authority Structure..