Liberal Democrat Richard Kemp launches Liverpool Mayoral race manifesto
- by David Bartlett, Liverpool Echo
A TRAM link to Liverpool John Lennon airport and a “curry mile” in Toxteth are among the policies being pledged by Liberal Democrat Liverpool mayor hopeful Richard Kemp.
Cllr Kemp, deputy leader of the party in Liverpool, was launching his manifesto for the Liverpool mayoral election today.
He also wants to set up a Liverpool Bond to initially raise money for infrastructure and local business, and create an enterprise factory to create spin- off companies from research at the city’s three universities.
Cllr Kemp said: “Liverpool has always done well when the Liberal Democrats run the city. Give my council team and me your vote on May 3 and we can recreate the spirit which brought us the Capital of Culture and more than £2.5bn of development in the city centre alone in the last decade.”
Cllr Kemp, who has served on the council for 29 years, currently represents the Church ward.
His most eye-catching pledge is to create a tram link to the airport. Under the failed Merseytram plan, Line Three was due to go to JLA. Critics claimed choosing Kirkby, rather than the airport, as the final destination for the scheme’s first line, was one of the reasons for its eventual failure.
Cllr Kemp said: “Working with Merseytravel and John Lennon Airport, I will seek to take advantage of this Government’s enthusiasm for rail investment and its support for hybrid Tram-Trains [which use tram lines and train tracks]. I will press for the reopening of disused stations and develop plans to use existing rail lines and disused tunnels to create a link from the Airport, and local communities, to the city centre.”
Cllr Kemp fears the city does not do enough to engage migrant communities, and one plan is to replicate Manchester’s curry mile in Lodge Lane. He said: “Local Asian entrepreneurs have already done much to reinvigorate a street which has been, at least in part, semi-derelict for 50 years.
“Curry mile would bring into the city new tourists, new wealth and would create a new spirit for all the communities in that part of Liverpool 8.”
He also suggests a “contacts audit” be carried out of the political, business and community leaders in migrant populations to help create “economic, cultural and educational links leading to two way trade and other opportunities”.
Cllr Kemp also pledged no council asset will be sold until there has been full consultation with the local community as to the options for reuse.
In his manifesto, he sets out a vision for how the council can work in partnership to unleash talent across the city. And, if elected in Liverpool’s first mayoral election next month, he would set up a shadow cabinet for representatives from the voluntary sector to help oversee strategic decisions.
To tackle criticism mayors can become removed from the electorate, Cllr Kemp said he would have a two-hour meet-the- mayor session every week in different communities across the city, and a monthly public question time at the town hall.
Alongside his idea of the Liverpool Bond is a plan to use the network of 40 Post Offices across Liverpool to develop a citywide credit union.
Liverpool secured £130m via the Government’s City Deal swapping a council leader for a mayor.
But Greater Manchester also got more than £1bn in the deal.
Cllr Kemp said this was because Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities were better at working together.
He said: “On Merseyside, we have a shadowy, ineffective city region cabinet which does low- level things in private.”
In the short term, he will insist it publishes agenda papers presented to it.
Cllr Kemp said it was also vital that the term Merseyside was dropped when promoting the region and Greater Liverpool used instead. He would also instigate a review of the governance arrangements across the region that would be chaired by a none political figure.
Cllr Kemp, who is chairman of the Plus Dane housing association, also wants social housing groups to become more involved in city life.
He added: “I would ask housing associations to become lettings agents and to manage properties acquired using compulsory powers such as management orders for landlords whose properties fell below standards and had not been improved after a reasonable time.”
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