Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson says new strategic author

Bill Esterson


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said while he welcomed the creation of a new Merseyside-wide strategic authority, the choice of name for the new body was "a bit of a tongue twister".

Bill said Merseyside needed a partnership of its local authorities to make sure the area got the best deal for the region.

However, he said the name 'Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority' was too much of a mouthful.

Bill said: "I think each of the Merseyside local authorities need to work closely together to ensure that we can attract the big investment and jobs that are so badly needed in our region.

"The combined authority can be a grouping of authorities to ensure that there is a co-ordinated approach to help this region compete with the likes of Greater Manchester and elsewhere.

"Merseyside authorities, in particular Sefton, have been hit hard by this Tory-Lib Dem Government's unfair cuts to local authority funding, particularly when you compare our local government settlements with the likes of Dorset and Surrey which have unbelievably had their funding in increased while we have faced massive cuts. The effects have been devastating for communities throughout the region with vital services being axed and people finding themselves unemployed.

"This partnership can act not only as a body to attract new business and investment, but also to form a powerful pressure group to fight for the interests of the people of this region."

Bill said each local authority must have equal weighting within the combined authority for the partnership to succeed.

Bill said: "The only way this will succeed is if each of the partner authorities feel they are equal partners. This must be a collective of equals with no one authority dominating.

"Each community needs to see the long term benefits of this partnership.

"And I think that is why it has been so difficult for the new combined authority to come up with a name, hence the name they have settled on - Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Combined Authority.

"It isn't very catchy and I don't think it will attract the attention or get the recognition that is needed to really make this a success from the start.

"And while they have tried to be fair by listing the authorities in alphabetical order, I would of course have preferred the name to start with Sefton.

"Despite the tongue twister of a name, I will do all I can, alongside my Merseyside MP colleagues, to make this partnership a success so that we do see much needed investment come to Sefton and we get the jobs that we need."

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