30.10.19

Meeting Liverpool’s green goals – Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson

Source : PSE Oct/Nov 2019

 

The mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, explains why the city has submitted a bid to Boris Johnson’s new Government for a ‘Green City Deal’.

In Liverpool Town Hall recently, city councillors from all parties declared a climate change emergency and set an ambitious target to become a carbon neutral city by 2030.

Despite all the immediate concerns about Brexit, it is a fact that climate change is a much bigger challenge to our economy - and our £230m pitch to the Government is designed to help us through both.

Much of Liverpool’s housing dates back to Victorian times and is inefficient, meaning residents – many of them already living in poverty - spend more than they should have to on heating them. Our bid is focused around creating 6,000 new and retrofitted houses with energy saving features such as triple glazing, smart energy meters and heating/light sensors to save householders money on their bills and tackle fuel poverty. There would also be energy generation and supply features such as solar panels, heat pumps and electric charging points where needed, as well as business-to-business energy trading schemes.

We want incentives for the private sector to build more energy-efficient homes, with similar properties also forming part of our council house-building programme and our own housing company, Foundations.

Separately, we are to establish a Liverpool Mutual Bank to help people on to the housing ladder and support SMEs, particularly those in the green sector, to start up or expand. We are also looking at a range of financial incentives for homeowners such as discounted ‘green’ mortgages, and potential council tax discounts for the most energy efficient homes.

Linked to this, we want to reskill the city’s workforce and make sure our young people have the ability to take advantage of the jobs in these growth sectors. For too long we have not inspired them to want to become engineers and construction workers, despite a desperate need for these skills. Vocational training needs to be modernised and fit for students and the needs of businesses. So, working with the unions we are exploring the potential of working together to deliver better outcomes for our young people.

The numbers are big - we estimate it would create 10,000 new jobs, support 35,000 people into work and train 4,000 apprentices. Overall, we believe it would deliver a £5bn boost for the economy over five years.

Some will naturally ask how confident a Labour mayor is of doing a deal with a Conservative Prime Minister – but I have been here before: in 2012 we agreed a £130m City Deal with David Cameron which replaced many of our schools and created new houses and jobs.

I believe this is the right moment for us to be working up a serious bid to Government, as they will be looking closely at how best to support the country’s economy if Brexit occurs.

We have already been in talks with various departments, investors and trade unions about our ideas, and the bid draws them all together into one joined-up proposal.

Ultimately, cities like Liverpool need to be bold, radical and ambitious if we are to meet our target of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030, and stand any chance of getting through the economic bumps caused by Brexit.

Like any challenge, the skill is to spot the opportunities and then implement a plan to maximise them for the benefit of as many people as possible.

Tackling climate change will benefit future generations forever, long after Brexit is a mere footnote in history.

 

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