Leading trade bodies present joint private sector vision ahead of Combined Authority submission to government
The leading business organisations in Liverpool City Region have offered support to the Combined Authority ahead of its meeting with government today by advocating the pursuit of an ambitious devolution agreement.
Downtown Liverpool in Business joined with the Social Enterprise Network, Professional Liverpool, the Institute of Directors, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Chambers of Commerce to submit a letter to city region leaders via the Local Enterprise Partnership, outlining the private sector vision of what businesses want from devolved powers and governance and expressing a commitment to work with the public sector in pursuit of that vision.
It was drawn up from evidence and opinion gathered at a summit involving local business leaders on Wednesday, 26 August at the Hilton Hotel, Liverpool.
Liverpool City Region Devolution – the private sector vision
The letter endorses the authority’s pursuit of an ambitious devolution agreement with government that will provide ‘ownership and accountability’ in a number of key economic areas to ensure Liverpool City Region becomes an integral part of the UK northern powerhouse.
Striving to be the best place to start or locate a business in the UK, fostering the power of the River Mersey to generate energy, becoming the UK’s international trading hub through Liverpool’s port, developing the visitor economy and becoming a capital of digital innovation and advanced manufacturing are all aspirations that form the collective vision.
The letter, which has been sent to the Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, Robert Hough, for submission to the combined authority, emphasises the joint role of the membership organisations as a ‘compelling conduit to the wider private sector for the LEP, the Combined Authority and the individual local authorities’ and in enabling the private sector to flourish, generating wealth, social value and sustainability.
Urging local representatives to ensure ongoing communication and engagement with the wider private sector, and embrace an evidence-based approach in negotiations with government to provide assurance and due diligence over the powers being negotiated, several key principles inform the joint submission:
- The creation of an appropriate direct investment mechanism for creating or scaling businesses that is reflective of a business-friendly culture designed to attract and retain enterprises in the city region.
- Improved local coordination and simplification of business support that eliminates silos and bureaucracy, enabling businesses to access bespoke expertise and have consistency of service.
- Greater coordination and adaptability of the delivery of local education and adult skills to enable the existing and future working population to be suitably prepared for jobs in our economy.
- Delivering critical improvements to transport connectivity including freight access to the Port of Liverpool via rail and road, improved passenger connectivity to Liverpool John Lennon airport and better connectivity to other city regions in the UK, particularly those comprising the Northern Powerhouse and M62 corridor.
- Having an outstanding digital infrastructure that recognises the critical role of technology in business and the associated competitive advantage the relevant equipment, expertise and applications provide to our city region in an increasingly competitive and globalised market.
- Leveraging the power of the River Mersey to form a critical element of an energy strategy that enables our city region to be resilient and, ultimately, self-sufficient.
In addition, local leaders are encouraged to pursue a governance model that enables clear accountability for delivery, shared collective vision and the articulation of consistent messages in the public domain.
Frank McKenna, Chief Executive of Downtown in Business commented:
“There is a genuine appetite among the business community to see a devolution deal agreed with government. In particular, we see this as an opportunity to utilise increasingly reduced resources more effectively; streamline what is an overly bureaucratic and confusing governance landscape that exists in the city region; and hopefully provide the private sector with a bigger voice in how we can grow the regions’ economy in the future.”Tags: devolution, Liverpool City Region