MERSEYSIDE could soon have an elected mayor as the region’s Combined Authority put forward its devolution deal.

Proposals for a Liverpool City Region devolution deal were discussed at today’s meeting of the Combined Authority.

Chairman of the authority and Wirral Council leader Phil Davies said he believes devolution will “change lives for the better” in the borough.

Any devolution deal will aim to accelerate economic growth, improve public services and improve social outcomes and create better health and wellbeing for local residents. 

But with any deal comes the possibility of introducing an elected mayor, something Cllr Davies has voiced his objection to in recent months.

In June, he made his position clear regarding a metro mayor, claiming it would place too much power in the hands of one person.

He said: “How will the metro mayor impact on our ability to provide day-to-day services like children’s centres, elderly care, planning and traffic programmes?

“How does the accountability residents currently enjoy with local councillors and town hall change?”

But documents discussed by the Combined Authority today show a different picture with members seemingly welcoming a metro mayor.

The report said: “We also recognise that the ‘prize’ of devolution may necessitate a ‘price’ to be paid in respect of the government’s stated aim of introducing an elected mayor for the city region.

“We are prepared to consider making a change in our local governance arrangements but only when we have considered the outcome of 3 the negotiations with government on the devolution package for the city region.”

The Combined Authority agreed to make its formal submission to the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review later this week on Friday.

The submission outlines the powers, control and resources which the Combined Authority believes should be managed locally at a regional level rather than by central Government.

In a wide ranging document, requests for devolved powers include a funding settlement covering more than one year to help plan and provide sustainable services for local residents and businesses, the creation of a land commission to oversee how the public sector estate is used, maintaining Government investment in the International Festival for Business for a further two events in 2018 and 2020, local control over the Mersey Tunnel tolls, reshaping and restructuring local skills and advisory systems to respond to local needs, and managing local bus services with the ability to set routes and fares.

Cllr Davies said: “We’ve set out in the five-year Wirral Plan our clear commitment to make Wirral a great place to live, work and do business.

“The emerging bid for a devolution deal for the Liverpool City Region is central to this vision and has the potential to give us the powers to deliver many of our 20 pledges for real action that will make a difference to local people’s lives.

“My focus now is on getting a devolution deal with Government that gives powers back to local people and changes lives for the better in Wirral and the wider region. It’s the people of Wirral and the Liverpool City Region and not Whitehall who should be deciding their own futures.

“The potential benefits are huge: from the creation of tens of thousands of good jobs to having the power to set the tolls for the Mersey Tunnels that are right for local people – and from the building of more affordable homes to the power to set fair bus fares.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Wirral, but only if the deal is right for our citizens and brings real benefits to the region.”

The asks will be submitted to Government on September 4 to receive ministerial consideration. 

Detailed negotiations will then follow until mid-November when the details of what is on offer will be shared with the individual local authorities. 

Formal implementation of any governance arrangements would come into effect from April 2017 at the earliest.