Liverpool needs a long term plan for the future. Currently nothing is happening because of Government inertia. I have challenged Secretary of State Gove to make a decision
I have written today to Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove urging him to put up or shut up about the proposal from his predecessor, Greg Clark, that the regional Mayor, Steve Rotheram, should chair a ‘Liverpool Futures Group’ to prepare a long term plan for the City.
In my letter I also criticise Liverpool’s two Mayors as the quivering Mayors who are waiting for permission that they do not need as they should be setting long term objectives for the City and City Region as part of their day job.
I made clear that the Liverpool Liberal Democrats whilst not particularly liking the Government’s proposed mechanism supported the principle of the creation of a long term. I also made clear that without such a plan neither the council or its partners can create an effective plan for spending public money in a cohesive and complementary way.
In his letter Cllr Kemp says, “Such a document needs to be constructed with the support of the people, businesses and organisations of an area so that all can contribute and commit to making it work. Preparing a City Plan is a big commitment and making it happen will take time. In Liverpool the clock has not even started on that work because you have failed to fire the starters pistol”.
He concludes by saying to Mr Gove, “You now must decide whether you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem. I look forward to hearing from you which” route you choose!
The full text of the letter to Mr Gove is appended.
Rt Hon Michael Gove,
Secretary of State,
30th January 2023
Dear Mr Gove,
It’s time for you to put up or shut up!
It is now more than 5 months since the person who was both your successor and predecessor as Secretary of State responded to the second letter to the Department from the Commissioners. One of his stipulations was that a Liverpool Futures Group be established under the Leadership of our Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram.
Whilst I did not agree with the mechanism chosen, I did agree with Mr Clark that it is absolutely vital that Liverpool, like every other village, town or City needs to have a long-term future plan. In effect it needs a Strengths, Weaknesses, opportunities, and threats analysis to enable it to look to the future with confidence and thrive.
Such a document needs to be constructed with the support of the people, businesses and organisations of an area so that all can contribute and commit to making it work. Preparing a City Plan is a big commitment and making it happen will take time. In Liverpool the clock has not even started on that work because you have failed to fire the starters pistol.
I understand that your Department has yet to provide Mayor Rotheram with the terms of reference for the suggested committee and you must take responsibility for that. Until the work starts it is difficult to piece together all that the Council must do by way of the construction of our Council Plan to deliver the long-term objectives that our City needs.
The problems are not just ours. We need to bring together all the main public and private sector bodies in the city to share both the problems and solutions. They too cannot do this as effectively as they could without this long-term City Plan. This is vital if we are to see public money well spent. For every £1 that the Council spends other parts of the public sector spends £5. By not having a shared plan and vision we are losing the opportunity to work effectively and merge targets and spending plans into a cohesive whole.
My suggestion to both the Mayor of Liverpool and the Mayor of the City Region is that they should act now and get on with this vital job, if you are not prepared to get on with things. Such an activity should be delivered anyway by all councils for their area. So why not just get on with it? I have yet to get a satisfactory answer from them about the lack of action. It appears that they are spellbound by your authority and feel that they need to await your blessing for anything that they do. I disagree!
So, the ball is now in your court. Either send the quivering Mayors the permission they crave or say that you will not be doing so and giving us the room to just get on with the job ourselves. Time is short. Purdah kicks in because of the local elections in about 6 weeks. That will mean no decision or start on the development of a City Plan can be made for at least another 6 weeks.
You now must decide whether you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem. I look forward to hearing from you which route you choose!
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats
well maybe Gove should have bothered to answer questions over LCC workings sent to him on no of occasions over 4 years. Maybe then move on to a futures plan after that with the required transparency in a real democracy. How many plans and mayors and highly paid officers are actually neccessary to get a move on with a future for Liverpools ordinary people ie real jobs, deprivation, warm rooms that are not just in the library and operate after 3pm. to 10pm . the word Decadence springs to mind. innit