Keir Starmer: 'Let's put rocket boosters under Liverpool'

Sir Keir Starmer met with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and other regional leaders in Downing Street on Tuesday
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants his government to "put rocket boosters under Liverpool" and the rest of Merseyside as he aims to boost our region.

The new Prime Minister - and his deputy Angela Rayner - met with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and other regional leaders in Downing Street yesterday (Tuesday), just four days on from recording a historic general election victory.

The new Prime Minister has said he wants to 'reignite the potential of the Liverpool City Region' and hand Mayor Rotheram more local powers to help deliver economic growth.

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The government confirmed that regional leaders will be backed with new powers over planning, skills, employment support and transport; along with integrated funding settlements to leaders who demonstrate exemplary handling of public money.

During the first-of-its kind meeting, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister reaffirmed their belief that mayors have the vital local knowledge, capacity or flexibility needed to take advantage of every opportunity.

Mayors will be asked develop Local Growth Plans which will help harness local strengths and deliver new opportunities, unblocking things standing in the way of tapping the potential that exists.

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer said: “Today we have reset the relationship and reset the mindset of government, with a refreshed intent to put rocket boosters under Liverpool, Merseyside, Sefton and the wider region’s local economy, working in lockstep with Mayor Steve Rotheram.

“We recognise that to deliver for working people in the area, we need to draw on local knowledge and local strengths because people from the Liverpool City region know their edge and know the opportunities that we need to seize.

“Gone are the days of Westminster having its door closed to our proud regions. Our focus is now on partnership, collaboration and above all, delivering on our collective mission to deliver growth and jobs.”

The Deputy Prime Minister will now write to all mayors reiterating the need to work together to develop proposals to boost growth and other opportunities.

A key part of the roundtable focused on resetting the relationship between central and regional governments, focusing on public service, respect and collaboration, along with the early steps needed to unlock economic growth and tackle regional inequality.

The Deputy Prime Minister also reiterated the government’s commitment to widening devolution to more areas, encouraging more local authorities to come together and take on new powers.

The new government believes that regional mayors can play an important role in advocating for the benefits of devolution and showing the impact they have been able to make with expanded powers.

The government will also establish a Council of Nations and Regions bringing together the Prime Minister, the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, and the mayors of Combined Authorities.

Sir Keir Starmer met with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and other regional leaders in Downing Street on Tuesday
Sir Keir Starmer met with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram and other regional leaders in Downing Street on Tuesday -Credit:Getty Images

Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner said: “Liverpool and the wider city region’s rich culture and vibrant, dynamic music scene are admired all over the world. We want to fuel the fire of amazing communities like this one and drive growth by giving local people more power over the places they call home.

“That’s why it’s so important we work hand-in-hand with our mayors to harness the potential of our towns and cities, tackle regional inequalities and to make a difference to people’s lives.

“But I want to take devolution even further and expand our offer to other areas – and I invite local leaders from parts of England without a mayor to come forward and speak to us about how we can work with you to transform your regions.”

Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram said: “After just a few days in office, this government is already shaping up to be one of the most pro-devolution administrations in history. That’s because Keir, Angela, Rachel and their teams recognise that mayors can act as the delivery arms of national government and it was great to discuss how we can help them to hit the ground running.

“Whether it is driving growth, building homes, fostering innovation or equipping people with the skills they need to succeed, mayors have already got a strong track record of turning hope into reality.

“I want to make the Liverpool City Region the best place to grow up, grow a business and grow a family. I’m really proud of the progress we’ve made so far, creating 60,000 jobs and building 30,000 homes for people to put down roots. Working hand in hand with the government, I know we can help take things up several notches.”

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