At the next Council meeting, later in July Erica and I will be working with Cllrs Radford and Morrison to try and force through a discussion on the development of the Liverpool City Region. Cllrs Richard Kemp and Steve Radford think that the 6 councils in the City region should not stand by and have change forced on them but should recognise what the Government wants to do and work together to mitigate problems that might arise.
Whilst none of us like the details of the proposals coming from the Government we recognise that with its parliamentary majority the Government can force change through. In those circumstances we should say now we will negotiate with the Government to try and localise the offer to suit the Liverpool City Region circumstances. The best way to get improvements from the Government is to show that all Parties are working together and have involved the wider community.
The opportunities of devolution and decentralisation are too big to be lost because the 6 Labour leaders in the area will not talk to each other.
Motion to Council
Council notes the clear view from the Conservative Government that power will be given to city and county regions subject to them accepting elected city region mayors.
It believes that constitutional change of this type should be decided, as in the case of Scotland and Wales, by a referendum in which the people decide the form of government which they will then elect.
It further believes that the best form of city region authority would be a small, strategic elected assembly which would choose its leader in the way accepted by local government from the largest parties or combination of Parties. However, it notes that this option is not available to the Liverpool City Region under the current legislation going through Parliament.
It believes that the prizes on offer of greater control over large amounts of resources should take precedence over concerns of people about the detailed form of constitutional change or their concerns about who might emerge as the ‘leader’ of the new body.
It therefore believes it vital that there should be an attempt to break the impasse amongst Council leaders by developing a discussion amongst all political parties in the City Region and amongst other players in the community including churches, community groups, think tanks and amenity groups about the form and function of a city wide administration.
It also recognises that constitutional change should not solely be the preserve of the Liverpool City Region cabinet.
Accordingly, Council requests the Mayor of Liverpool to convene a meeting of the leaders of all political parties represented on the 6 councils to consider a way forward that will:
• Maximise the involvement of all councillors and others that will take forward the City Region Constitutional agenda; and
• Minimise the concerns expressed by many over the details of change being imposed by the Government.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE & Cllr Steve Radford