Mersey ‘Combined Authority’ being railroaded through without Scrutiny

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Liberal Democrats from Southport have again voiced concerns about the make-up of the proposed ‘Combined Authority’ for the Liverpool City Region which will control transport (replacing Merseytravel) and Strategic planning/spending within the sub-region.

At the Sefton Council performance Scrutiny Committee, Lib Dem councillors Mike Booth, Sue McGuire and Tony Dawson made it clear that they remained unhappy with key aspects of the proposal which was being railroaded through to start on April 1st.

Councillor Mike Booth  told the Committee that he continued to have major reservations about the lack of any details of how the seven man one-party Authority would have its decisions scrutinised.

The Lib Dems recognise that the Government appears to be determining these ‘combined authorities” as its preferred method for determining strategic matters in combination with ‘City Region’ partnerships.

“We continue to have concerns, though,” Councillor Dawson told the committee,

” that the region being proposed is structurally ‘neither fish nor fowl’ . It is massively urban/city based yet includes several substantial suburban communities, including Southport and Formby and Maghull/Lydiate. These communities are a ‘minority interest’ for the proposed Authority, in which their elected representatives are unlikely to have any direct democratic voice.”

At the same time, considerable areas of the travel-to-work area around Liverpool continue to be excluded from this proposed ‘region’, at least in it’s ‘set-up’ form. It can by no sense of the imagination be properly-designated ‘Greater Merseyside’.”

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