Today councils in Manchester have been told by George Osborne that they can have more powers if they have a Metro Mayor. In fact as Nick Clegg confirmed to me last week that is Osborne’s policy and not that of the Government.
Next March the Lib Dem Conference will be coming to Liverpool at a time when talk of English devolution will be high just before a General Election. This is a Draft Resolution from Liverpool Lib Dems which we have submitted. It is possible that it will not be taken beacsue we have already passed an English Policy on this issue which is relevant and up to date. If it is not taken up we are working with colleagues in our LGA Group and our Councillors’ Association to make this the centrepiece of a major fringe meeting and visits to the City from senior Lib Dems.
You will note at least one section of this. We do not support the idea of a City Region Mayor – one Elected Mayor wreaking havoc in our area is enough thank you!!
Draft Resolution to Liberal Democrat Spring Conference
Conference welcomes the proposed widespread devolution of power to Scotland with enhanced powers to the Welsh.
It welcomes the fact all three main parties have now understood that what is good for Scotland and Wales is also good for the regions of England.
It recognises that the localised coming together of councils and the opportunities for the devolution of powers are proceeding at a different pace in different parts of the Country. It therefore believes that the way forward is not the imposition of a rigid template and timetable for all areas governed by Whitehall and Westminster but an enabling by the centre to allow different regions to proceed as they become ready with what they wish to take responsibility for.
Devolution of Power
Accordingly it wishes to place the Liberal Democrats at the heart of the devolution agenda by the transfer of wide ranging powers for the delivery of services to City and County Regions.
These powers could include:
• Land use planning
• Economic Development
• Inward Investment
• Post 16 none university education and training
• Waste Disposal
• Primary Health Care
• Benefits for people in working age
Conference recognises the fact that devolution of power without fiscal devolution is meaningless. It therefore resolves to review methods of local taxation to allow them to include the tax take for:
• All National None Domestic Rates
• A proportion, to be established, of VAT
City and County Regions will also be allowed to levy local taxes to raise up to 5% of their budget with appropriate local measures to allow for local costs and spending pressures.
Accordingly it commits the Party to establish a ‘Local Funding Commission’ to consider in greater detail these and other options and to establish a fair funding mechanism to ensure that poorer areas will not lose out.
Conference believes that new City and County Regions should be governed by new Assemblies on the basis of one member per 50,000 electors. These assemblies would be either:
• Elected by the single transferable vote mechanism across the area; or
• Based on the proportions achieved by the Parties across the region in the immediately preceding Unitary and/or upper tier elections.
That the leadership of the region should be provided on the Leader/Cabinet system.
That the region will replace any Combined authorities, Fire, Waste Disposal and Transport Authorities and will eliminate the posts of Police Commissioners.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
On behalf of Liverpool City Liberal Democrats