I have written to the 6 Labour leaders on Merseyside asking them to put internal Labour bickering aside and work for the people of Merseyside.
The intervention comes following the news that a £50,000,000 application to the Regional Growth Fund has been rejected partly because Merseyside is unable to get its act together.
In my letter I said,
Creating Greater Liverpool
You will note find it surprising to get a letter from a Lib Dem Leader asking 6 Labour leaders to meet and take urgent action but this is what this letter is asking you to do.
Last week we had confirmation that the area had lost £50 million of Regional Growth Funding. My understanding is that the reasons for this were two-fold:
- That the application was poor; and that
- The conurbation was not seen to be pulling together in a way that would deliver the wide spread economic thrust that is needed.
I cannot comment on the first of these as I have not seen the application but I can and will comment on the second because it is absolutely clear to me and many members of the business community on Merseyside that this is blindingly obvious.
30 miles up the M62 from Liverpool we have Greater Manchester sweeping ahead and getting a large measure of governmental support because they ‘bit the bullet’ years ago. Across the conurbations there is an open, transparent and accountable organisation put in place that is able to press for things in a coherent and powerful way.
In this context the Liverpool City Region Cabinet is puny, unaccountable and dithering. We have a late starting and poorly performing LEP. We seem wholly unable to act strategically and Labour leaders seem to be unable to act in a way that could challenge the power of Manchester. Indeed when this is raised publicly it promotes spats in public.
At the end of the day it does not matter if a good job is created anywhere on Merseyside as people apply from across the conurbation and beyond. The narrow parochialism being displayed means that the number of ‘good jobs’ being created is far less than it otherwise would have been.
I hope that this £50 million rebuff will serve as a clarion call to the 6 Merseyside Councils to sort themselves out, end the petty bickering and put people before politics.