The first metro mayor for Liverpool City Region will be taking on strategic powers over an area which has many of the amenities and much of the physical infrastructure that makes it primed for growth. It has an excellent cultural offer and built environment, a well-run rail system and relatively affordable housing. In May, the metro mayor will take on strategic powers over housing and planning, but will be faced with big challenges around low wages in the region, and relatively low employment.
In order to ensure that both the economy and residents across the city region thrive, the metro mayor will need to focus his or her policies on enabling more people to work in more and better jobs. Alongside supporting businesses, the mayor must also support those residents that have been left behind, without access to good jobs. This briefing outlines the three policy priorities that address the big issues facing Liverpool City Region.
Not all of these policy priorities can be enacted immediately: some will be quick and visible, while others will reflect a longer term vision for the city region.
- A ‘quick win’ will help the mayor to set the tone for delivery right from the start. Delivering results quickly will build trust, and show what the metro mayor is able to do for the city-region. The best ‘quick wins’ in these circumstances are high profile and of value to citizens.
- Strategic decisions form the framework for delivering the metro mayor’s vision. As such, the mayor will have the power to take the decisions that will make the most of the new geography of governance. While the mayor will be keen to show progress towards their vision, strategic decisions will often take longer to show outcomes, therefore careful evaluation is needed to allow for flexibility and to demonstrate the effects.
- A long term vision for the city will be the key election platform – it is what the mayor is working towards while in office. This should be ambitious, but reflect the real needs and potential of the city. Some aspects of the vision will be achievable within the mayor’s term in office, while others will build momentum or signal a change in direction. It is important to be clear and strike the balance of where each policy lies on this spectrum.
Policy priority 1: A quick win
Make taking a bus easier for communities to access opportunities across the city region
- Improve the bus network to quickly make a difference in poorly connected areas throughout the city region.
- Use new strategic powers to prioritise disadvantaged residents and cut off areas, opening up more opportunities and signalling the importance of a whole city region approach.
- Work with bus providers and other local partners to build complementary rather than competing priorities for the city region.
Policy priority 2: A strategic aim
Improve the skills of the workforce so more people can access jobs across the city region
- Help out of work residents to access more jobs across the city region by improving their skills
- Use the apprenticeship levy to better match businesses with skills providers across the city and improve the quality of schemes through the apprenticeship hub.
- Build links and networks between city hall, businesses and key education institutes.
Policy priority 3: A longer term vision
Make improving school performance a top priority for the city region
- Trial initiatives to boost school performance in the areas of the city region that need it most
- Enable school leavers to get the qualifications they need to access and create the jobs of the future
- Make best use of the visibility of the role to challenge schools that are underperforming.