by Steve Rotheram
Published: 31 Aug 2023
Guest blog from Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region
The Liverpool City Region is a place with a long and proud history.
Our region has often been the engine that powers and drives social change. It has been home to inspirational campaigners like Kitty Wilkinson and Eleanor Rathbone, as well as modern-day heroes like Gee Walker and the Hillsborough families.
As Mayor, it is my responsibility to protect and grow that legacy.
Devolution has given us the tools to chart our own course. The limited powers and funding we have been able to wrestle from Westminster and Whitehall allow us to invest in projects that make a real difference to people’s lives. I want to use our regional powers as a force for good.
For far too long, too many people in our area have been held back from fulfilling their potential – not by a lack of talent, but by a lack of opportunity.
Working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), we have adopted the Socio-Economic Duty. This will help us to ensure that every pound we spend, and every decision we take, positively impacts the communities we represent.
The EHRC have provided us with invaluable guidance and expertise in adopting the duty and delivering meaningful ways of tackling inequality.
Under my leadership, the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has invested a record amount into projects aimed at tackling inequality at every level. Last month we launched our 2023 Investment Strategy which aims to place social value across local communities at the heart of every investment we make.
We have invested £3.2m in a Race Equality Hub and taken a radical new approach to tackling homelessness through Housing First. We have improved people’s confidence to find work through Households into Work, and eased money worries during the cost of living crisis through our £105m retrofit programme. We are breaking down the barriers that previously stood in the way of people getting on in life.
While I am incredibly proud of how far we have come on this journey, I know that there is still a long road ahead of us on the journey to true equality.
The Liverpool City Region still has some of the poorest health outcomes in the country. There are parts of our region where a boy born can expect to live 23 fewer healthy years than one born a few miles down the road. For girls, it’s 24 years. And nearly half of the children in the area leave primary school unable to read and write well.
In 2023, it is beyond belief that this is the reality facing the next generation living in the world’s sixth richest country. I am on a mission to put it right.
Because the measure of any decent society should be how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. I want to create a city region that is fairer, where no one is left behind.
We owe it not only to the next generation, but to that proud legacy of improving the world that we have inherited. That may sound like a lofty ambition but I believe if anywhere is capable of it, it is the Liverpool City Region.