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Power to our City

August 23, 2011

Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins had this letter about City Mayors and City Leaders published in the (Liverpool edition of the) Daily Post, today:

I am pleased to see that Lord Heseltine is still concerned about Liverpool and that the issue of core cities is being discussed in Westminster ( Daily Post, 16 August 2011 Heseltine: City needs strong mayor to stop threat of riots’).

Lord Heseltine is surely mistaken if he believes that city mayors could of themselves ‘stop the threat of riots’, however. And whilst I agree with the ex-minister for Merseyside that a ‘Boris Johnson-style mayor’ could be beneficial here, surely Lord Heseltine must be able to see that the Mayor of London is not a ‘city mayor‘ in the way that is now being proposed by the  government for the twelve large cities in England, including our own?

The London mayor has a mandate over all 32 of the local authorities in the capital.  Thus the equivalent here would be a Mayor for Merseyside, not just for Liverpool, transcending local council boundaries. Further, the existence of a  London Mayor certainly did not prevent rioting in London.

I would very much welcome increased powers for Liverpool and the other core cities. But making the current city Leaders into mayors on the existing council boundaries with no additional powers is mere posturing from the current Lib Dem / Conservative government.

Local leadership most certainly does matter in our communities, and especially at difficult times. Well done to Council Leader Joe Anderson and his Deputy Cllr Paul Brant, whose leadership was very much in evidence last week, dealing with the aftermath of the criminal damage committed over two nights in our city.

[Cllr]  Laura Robertson-Collins

Councillor for Greenbank Ward

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