Rednoses Autumn Blog Post

September 2015 Autumn Blog

Bluenoses Autumn Blog Post



Why we need to embrace the Liverpool City Region

One of the defining factors for inward investment into our UK cities in the 21st century, is each cities scope and influence with its surrounding areas. Clearly, Liverpool is starting to see this, as have other major cities too. There seems to be a land grab going on at the moment between the two North West powerhouses, and dare I say it, Liverpool is losing.

Comparing the Liverpool City Region in 2015 without potential growth

Other city regions aside for the moment, Liverpool and Manchester certainly have a lot in common, more so than not. However, since the dawn of the 21st century we have pleasingly propelled ourselves out of the 1980's quagmire of recession, venturing full speed ahead in fifth gear, while Manchester has somehow managed to shift into sixth gear. Look back only 40 years or so, Manchester was of a similar standing to Liverpool. The population of each of the cities are still similar, even of our main neighbouring regions, Wirral and Salford. So what happened? Comparing the city epicentres in 2015 without the River Mersey Why is Manchester all of a sudden considered to be the capital of the north, at least in the eyes of southern England.
Well for a start, they built the M60 Motorway, which immediately draws a comparison with London and gives off the impression that the city of Manchester is bigger than what it is, almost disregarding the city of Salford. The same can't be said for us though. Whenever anybody sums up the size of Liverpool on a map, they don't tend to include the Wirral in their assumption, why not? They include Salford and Manchester together.
Another reason may be our dividing river, undoubtably our biggest asset, but also one of the causes of the confusion with regards to our city size. Whilst I agree there are differences between the Wirral and Liverpool, there are certainly far more commonalities between the two. Take Manchester and Salford for example, are they any less different from each other than the Wirral is to Liverpool, I think not! Yet, it's easy for the press to categorise the two Mersey regions apart, yet in the same breath regard Salford as simply an area of Manchester. This erroneously leads to the assumption that Liverpool is way more smaller than Manchester, which is simply not the case.
Yet another reason is each of our extended regions, granted, Manchester has a larger city region than us, largely thanks to their successful land grab of areas like the Borough of Wigan, which adds another 73 square miles and 320,000 people to their region. This clever little catch enables them to sell themselves as a Metropolis of 2.6 million people. With the Liverpool City Region on the other hand, being a mere 1.5 million in comparison. This certainly hinders our ability to market ourselves more affectively.

The North West City Regions - Today

LCR
Authority
LCR
Area (Sq M)
LCR
Population
MCR
Population
MCR
Area (Sq M)
MCR
Authority
LCR 280 1,520,000 2,581,000 494 MCR
Liverpool 43 466,000 520,000 45 Manchester
Wirral 61 321,000 321,000 73 Wigan
Sefton 59 275,000 280,000 54 Bolton
St.Helens 53 177,000 242,000 38 Salford
Knowsley 33 151,000 232,000 41 Trafford
Halton 31 130,000 229,000 55 Oldham
--- --- --- 221,000 40 Tameside
--- --- --- 213,000 61 Rochdale
--- --- --- 187,000 38 Bury
--- --- --- 136,000 49 Stockport

So...What's the solution?

Well we need to extend the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority even further, for a start. Two areas have already expressed an interest in joining the LCR, they are West Lancashire and Warrington. We need to welcome these areas with open arms, as well as extend an invitation to the Ellesmere Port & Neston Authority. Are the latter any less like the LCR than Wigan is to the Manchester city region, again, I think not! If we do this, then we at least have a fighting chance at competing equally for inward investment on an even keel to our neighbouring city region, other factors apart of course.

The North West City Regions - After Growth

LCR
Authority
LCR
Area (Sq M)
LCR
Population
MCR
Population
MCR
Area (Sq M)
MCR
Authority
LCR 518 1,919,000 2,581,000 494 MCR
Liverpool 43 466,000 520,000 45 Manchester
Wirral 61 321,000 321,000 73 Wigan
Sefton 59 275,000 280,000 54 Bolton
Warrington 70 207,000 242,000 38 Salford
St.Helens 53 177,000 232,000 41 Trafford
Knowsley 33 151,000 229,000 55 Oldham
Halton 31 130,000 221,000 40 Tameside
West Lancs 134 112,000 213,000 61 Rochdale
EP & Neston 34 80,000 187,000 38 Bury
--- --- --- 136,000 49 Stockport

What other factors attract investment opportunites?

While the city region's size and population is a major attraction for future investment, I'd be amiss not to mention other factors here too, like cultural factors. What sort of appeal do these two great powerhouses offer to the nation, or indeed in this era of globalisation, to the world?

Music

One of our biggest selling points is music, without a doubt, we score more favourable on this point, at least globally. Other acts aside, being the 'Birthplace of the Beatles' is a real magnet for this region, one that I'm sure Manchester would bite our fingers off for. The "Worlds Most Successful Music Band" is the trump card on this front, case closed.

Sport

All together now for the Liverpool City Region Now what about sport, take football for example, the main sport of the day and one of the country's biggest exports. Well we have always won on this point, at least in the past. Of late though, things have certainly took a turn for the worse, at least from our perspective. We are still the most successful footballing city region, at least for now.
The English League Title has been brought back to these shores no less than 27 times, even Sir Whiskey Nose couldn't manage to topple that record during his spell. Before he came along, Liverpool city had 27 League Titles to Manchester's measley 9, making us a far more superior footballing city. How times have changed, it's now just 27 to 24!
But what's football got to do with investment you may ask, well success on the pitch breeds a large fan base, bringing in more tourism, giving the region more global appeal, increasing our major city's brand is encouraging for certain investors. I'm sure we'd find it easier to find more investment in the city region if both Everton and Liverpool football clubs were racking up titles like they were in the eighties. Undoubtably, both of the aforementioned cities score well on the football factor, more so than any other British city, London included.

Media Coverage

The final factor I'm going to mention is media coverage. It has to be said that in the past, we have always faired well on this point, in recent years however, I'm afraid Manchester takes this one. The government's decision to relocate the BBC to Salford has worked wonders for our neighbouring region. Other television networks have also followed suit, making the Media City central to their northern operations. The constant reminder of this is echo'd in our ears everytime a presenter says, "Now let's go back to our studio in Salford", or, "Here's what Bob on the streets of Manchester has to say about it", everytime a lazy journalist can't be bothered to make the journey down the M62 to ask someone in Liverpool the same topical question. This constant exposure leaves a little post-it-note in the minds of every listener, day in, day out. Yes, we lose this one.

The conclusion.

We need to act quickly and welcome our local regions. We need to extend our combined authority and attract more inward investment in the process. We need to bind together like never before and acknowledge that we have a hell of a lot more in common, than we do driving us apart. We need to be proud of our Liverpool City Region and embrace it before it's too late. Times have changed, in the past it was all about the city, today however, it's all about the city and the surrounding region, that's how cities are being sold these days! Are we going to grow and become the super city that we're surely destined to be? Or dare I say it, are we going to get eaten up by a greedier fish and wish we'd ate more scran, only to find that there's none left. It's all about the LCR la, get on it!