Metro Mayor’s message of hope for city region’s economic recovery

Steve Rotheram
X The Business Desk

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Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, has given a message of hope for the region’s economic recovery.

Speaking to 200 cross-sector business and civic leaders at an online event, Mayor Rotheram highlighted the strengths and determination of the Liverpool City Region that will be crucial to driving its economic recovery – from big-ticket schemes like Unilever’s National Packaging Innovation Centre on the Wirral, to the world leading innovators and social trading organisations across the city region.

He said: “With the vaccine roll-out continuing apace and the roadmap for easing lockdown under way, we all have a clearer sense of when we will be returning to something resembling normality.

“So now it is vital that we shift our focus to delivering the strongest and fairest recovery possible. I believe that by following our Economic Recovery Plan – and by making good use of our region’s greatest natural resource – its people – we can make a success of it.

“Immediately before this pandemic struck, our city region was the most productive in the North and we outpaced the country in terms of regional growth.

“We must build on this platform and I know that together we can rise to meet this moment.

“We will still need large scale funding from the Government to help drive our recovery. And we will continue to lobby the Government to invest the £1.4bn identified in our Economic Recovery Plan, that will enable us to generate a £9bn return for the city region and UK recovery.

“But, alongside this, the leaders of our six councils and I have agreed to create a new LCR Recovery Fund, using the next tranche of our devolved funding up to £150m.

“This fund would mean that we can start our recovery much faster, collaborating across the city region to invest in projects that will power our economic recovery, creating or safeguarding jobs that will be vitally needed in the coming months and beyond.”

He added: “Of course, this fund doesn’t mean we can fund everything that is in our recovery plan, but it does mean that we can start to invest much sooner.”

The Economic Recovery Plan Building Back Better is a plan for the whole Liverpool City Region and has been developed with partners from a wide range of sectorsand the public. It has been backed by figures from business, academia, the social economy, the public sector and trades unions.

The plan has identified nearly 40 fully-costed, shovel-ready interventions, which would create more than 120,000 jobs in total.

In addition, the plan details medium and long-term projects that could play a key role in the recovery, including the Mersey Tidal Power project which would use the city region’s unique assets to contribute to the UK’s long-term sustainable energy mix, while creating thousands of jobs.

Today’s event also highlighted how investing in smaller innovative and entrepreneurial projects and in the c ity region’s £2.9bn social economy, which employs almost 50,000 people, is also vital to economic recovery.

Mayor Rotheram said: “I am under no illusions about the scale of the challenge that still lies ahead. COVID has hit key sectors of our local economy – hospitality, leisure and the visitor economy – particularly hard.

“But I’m really proud of all we’ve done together in the last year. Everything we’ve done to help save people’s jobs, business and – above all – their lives.

“I know that, despite the challenges we have been through over the past year, together we can rise to meet this moment and come back stronger.”

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