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Liverpool City Region mayor proposes ‘metro mayor tax’ to deliver priorities, one year after ruling it out

Liverpool City Region (LCR) mayor Steve Rotheram has proposed a new ‘metro mayor tax’ a year after ruling out such a move as he unveils his key priorities for the combined authority’s budget.

The extra charge on this year’s council tax bill will see householders charged on average £16 more to pay for Rotheram’s transport and housing projects, as well as his £77,500 salary, in a precept which is expected to raise £7.6m a year.

The Taxpayer’s Alliance called it “insensitive,” but the region’s metro mayor said it was unfair to expect the six local authorities to carry on funding the combined authority as, at the moment, LCR cannot use any investment secured from the government to cover running costs.

Rotheram said: “This hasn’t been an easy decision, but it’s something we have to do in order to continue benefiting from devolution.

“Devolution is the only way we can secure the funds we need to transform our city region, and the only sustainable way we can raise the money we need to deliver devolution is by introducing a small precept for the coming year.”

John O'Connell, the Taxpayer’s Alliance chief executive, said: “It's easy for those on a government payroll to call for higher taxes, but for any family struggling with the cost of living, £16 isn't a negligible amount.

“Local taxpayers will wonder whether this additional cost will result in better public services or if the money would be better off going towards essential services like bin collection and social care.”

The proposals will be considered at a combined authority meeting on 1 February and will outline a programme of the mayor’s priorities which include jobs, transport, digital connectivity, and housing.

Rotheram said the proposals will include an ambitious programme designed to build on projects such as the £500m strategic investment fund, a £6m fund to support local high streets, and a cycling and walking network.

Image credit -  Louisa Collins-Marsh/PA Archive/PA Images


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