A new £500 million Strategic Investment Fund is being announced today (9 November) to support the Liverpool City Region’s economy.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will launch the cash boost which will see £100m available in the first year, rising to the half a billion pound total over four years.
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has already identified projects which can receive support through the initiative, as it aims to make delivering local jobs and positive social impacts an increasingly significant factor in approving funding.
They include ultra-fast broadband for every borough, a new smart ticketing system to replace Merseytravel’s Walrus card, help for city region high streets, and a new generation of Mersey Ferries.
Mayor Rotheram says: “Our key purpose as a combined authority is to improve our residents’ lives, by creating the right environment for our economy to thrive, while ensuring that growth benefits everyone through well paid local jobs and increased living standards.
“Through the Strategic Investment Fund we will have around half a billion pounds available to support projects in areas such as transport infrastructure, economic development, business growth, skills, culture and housing.
“Devolution gives us the opportunity to do things differently, and one of the ways we will do that is by making clear to applicants that they will have a better chance of success if their bids demonstrate positive social impact.
“So for example, we will consider their bid more highly if they pay the living wage, recognise trades unions, create apprenticeships and use local supply chains and labour to deliver their projects.
“We are determined to ensure that in an uncertain, post-Brexit world this funding delivers the maximum possible benefit to the people of the whole Liverpool City Region. That is why we will be working hard to ensure we fund transformational projects that have the highest possible impact in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.”
Plans for the Strategic Investment Fund include providing pre-development funding to help expand and improve the pipeline of projects it can support, giving backing to prospective applicants to help analyse markets, identify opportunities and develop projects.
There’ll also be a short-form approval process for projects of less than £1m, designed to enable the combined authority to offer better support for smaller cultural projects.