Mayor Rotheram explained that council budgets in the region have seen huge cuts since 2010 but that devolution has allowed investment to continue in key areas such as infrastructure and job creation.
He said: “Our councils are cut adrift, and successive Prime Ministers have overseen cuts to our local authorities of over £1 billion. We as a city region have a distinct advantage on our side and that is devolution.
“Devolution has brought with it hundreds of millions that we have invested in infrastructure to create jobs and attract further investment to the area. We will fight tooth and nail to make sure government gives us the funding we need. All we want is a fairer share of funding to change people’s lives.”
He then argued that during his time as the region’s Metro Mayor, devolution has put power back into the hands of local people: “Where we were once totally reliant on central government to deliver, now we’re in charge of building a brighter, stronger future for the 1.6 million people in the Liverpool City Region.
“People here understand the challenges and opportunities we face far better than people in London. I’ve met London mandarins who don’t even know the difference between Kirkby and West Kirkby.
“By making local decisions, we are transforming areas that have been starved of funding for far too long by governments of all stripes. Devolution is proper levelling up.”
Mayor Rotheram also addressed the challenges faced by the students in the audience: “The world has moved on a lot since I was a young adult but the challenges facing young people have not changed.
“Our region’s most precious resource is its people and for a long time, many have been held back, not back by qualifications or talent, but by lack of opportunity. Devolution has brought with it hundreds of millions that we have invested in infrastructure to create jobs and attract further investment to the area.”
Edge Hill University’s long-standing connection to Liverpool also came up with Mayor Rotheram commenting that: “The links between Edge Hill and the city region are significant and they go right back more than 100 years when it was first established as a teacher training college for women.
“While the decades in between have seen geographical divergence, our two paths remain intrinsically linked as Edge Hill trains many of our region’s teachers, nurses, doctors and police officers.”
Programme Leader for Politics Paula Keaveney said: “It was really great to hear about the Mayor’s work at first hand and to get to understand how the relatively new role of Metro Mayor works in practice.
“We’re very grateful for the time he spent with students. Events like these are an important part of Edge Hill’s approach to studying politics – it is the real people doing the real jobs that bring real understanding of what actually goes on in the world of politics.”
The event has been organised by Edge Hill’s Institute for Social Responsibility which aims to make a positive impact on societal issues through cross-disciplinary research and knowledge exchange activities. It also regularly holds events, seminars, workshops and lectures so check for updates or join the mailing list. Learn more about the work of the ISR on their homepage www.edgehill.ac.uk/isr/.
To discover more about courses at Edge Hill University, please visit ehu.ac.uk/study.
November 29, 2022