Send us news by text, start your message Globe News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Wirral votes to become part of new Merseyside combined 'super council'
WIRRAL'S Labour and Liberal Democrat groups have tonight united to support a move to become part of a combined Merseyside council.
At a specially-called meeting at Wallasey Town Hall, the full council voted by 38 to 19 in favour of leader Cllr Phil Davies’ proposal to join the region's five other authorities.
The scheme had been approved by the ruling Labour cabinet earlier this afternoon.
It will now be submitted to the Government, seeking agreement to begin the process of seeing the new joint body being legally constituted
If ministers agree, an eight-week consultation will then begin, with a final decision expected in December.
A report presented to councillors said the economic benefit generated by the move has potential to create up to 100,000 jobs over time and represents “an opportunity unparalleled in the country.”
The merger is specifically aimed at giving the combined "super council" additional fire-power, enabling it to compete with neighbouring areas such as Greater Manchester to be considered for extra Government funding.
Local decisions will remain within the remit of the individual authorities, which will retain their own identity.
An amendment by the Conservative opposition group leader, Cllr Jeff Green, called on councillors to reject the proposal in favour of "other options."
But it was defeated by the same 38-to-19 votes margin.
Councillor Davies said it is vital the region takes the step.
In the debate before tonight’s vote was cast, he said: “In my view, a combined authority is the model that most sensible city regions are advocating."
Dismissing concerns Wirral would be a junior partner in the new authority, he said: "I don’t go along with this argument that Wirral will miss out.
“I will do absolutely everything I can to fight Wirral’s corner.
"I do not believe it will be a Liverpool-centric authority. We are one of six councils involved in this and I will fight tooth and nail for Wirral people.
"If we don’t go through with this, we will lose out on funds."
Councillor Green remained unconvinced.
He said: “The creation of a combined authority will leave us with no voice.
"I have very real concerns this is all about resources being syphoned-off to Liverpool, leaving Wirral behind.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Stuart Kelly said: "I support the idea of the region working closely together in a combined authority.
"But this must be backed up with robust overview and challenge arrangements.
"The region has been let down before by executive boards pushing ahead with schemes unchecked. I am confident that when investors arrive they will see that Wirral has much to offer."
The other councils in the merger – Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Halton and St Helens – have been involved in similar discussions.
Liverpool’s cabinet has already approved the project, but the decision has yet to be ratified by the city’s full council.
Comments are closed on this article.