Improving Liverpool’s bus network, raising schools standards and creating more quality apprenticeships should be top of the Liverpool city-region’s metro mayor’s to-do list when they take office in May this year.
This is according to new analysis published today by the think tank Centre for Cities, which sets out three policy priorities to help the new metro mayor hit the ground running from the start of their term.
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, said: “Liverpool’s metro mayor will face many challenges when they take office, including acting on their campaign pledges, preparing the city-region for Brexit, and establishing the new mayoral office. To make a success of the role, it’s vital that the mayor acts quickly to address the biggest issues that the city-region faces.”
The Centre for Cities analysis includes one ‘quick policy win’ to set the tone for the mayor’s time in office, along with two long-term strategic priorities for the city-region:
Alexandra Jones said: “Liverpool has one of the best-performing rail networks in the country, but there’s plenty of scope for the new mayor to improve bus-links across the city-region. A good start would be to integrate the routes run by different bus providers, to make the system easier to use and ensure that different routes don’t clash. The new mayor should also consider reintroducing bus lanes in the centre of Liverpool, to help people from across Merseyside access jobs and opportunities in the city centre more easily. Taking these steps will enable the new mayor to have a tangible impact on the lives of local people in their first months in office.”
Alexandra Jones said: “The single biggest obstacle to boosting wages and jobs in Liverpool is the city-region’s low-skills levels, which lag below the national average. Addressing poor performing schools will be critical in tackling this issue, and should be a long-term priority for the new mayor. For example, they can use their profile and mandate to push for Liverpool to be one of the pilot areas for the Government’s ‘Teach North’ initiative, which aims to raise schools standards. Another option could be to offer additional funding to attract good-quality teachers from other parts of the country to Liverpool.”
Alexandra Jones said: “Liverpool has a higher than average share of adult residents with no formal qualifications. One way to tackle that problem is to make more high-level apprenticeships available, which would help both young people and adult residents a second chance to learn new skills and access new jobs. The new mayor should use their influence and position to bring together businesses, further education colleges and universities to create more quality apprenticeships, and to ensure that vocational education meets the needs of local people and businesses.”
Alexandra Jones continued: “There’s a lot at stake for the new mayor, and showing that they mean business from day one will not only be vital in building trust with local people in Liverpool – it will also be crucial in achieving their vision for the city region and securing the long-term future of the mayoral office.”
For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Brian Semple on 0207 803 4316 or b.semple
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