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Metro Mayors’ Skills Summit Calls for Further Devolution

England’s directly-elected regional mayors will meet in Liverpool today, at the invitation of Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor.

The meeting builds on the success of two previous meetings in London and Birmingham.
At the summit, all eight mayors – four Conservative and four Labour – will call on the government for greater devolution of powers and funding over skills.

All eight have signed up to a joint statement calling for further reforms to the skills system, including more control over Apprenticeship Levy funds to boost skills in their areas.

Present at the meeting will be Tim Bowles, West of England; Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester; Sadiq Khan, London; Ben Houchen, Tees Valley; Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region; Andy Street, West Midlands.

James Palmer, Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, and Dan Jarvis, Sheffield City Region, are unable to attend but signed the joint statement.

All of the mayors present will attend the International Festival of Business, currently taking place in Liverpool, and supported by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

The morning will see a panel discussion featuring a number of the mayors, while Sadiq Khan will address the Festival in the afternoon, followed by an “in conversation” session with Steve Rotheram.

A focus for discussions will be the Government’s flagship Apprenticeship Levy, which is intended to fund new apprenticeships through a levy of 0.5% of their paybill for employers with salary costs of more than £3 million per year.

Funding can then be drawn down by employers to pay for apprenticeships.
Since the levy was introduced new apprenticeship starts have dropped by 24%, and businesses are finding it difficult to provide the apprenticeships our regions need.

The metro mayors agreed the following joint statement: “As the UK approaches Brexit it is of vital importance for our future growth and prosperity that businesses have access to a workforce with the range of skills necessary to be competitive in the modern global economy.

“As Mayors representing every corner of England we know we would be letting our residents down if we failed to provide them with the opportunities to gain the skills and experience they need to fulfil their potential.

“Between the eight of us we account for nearly 42 per cent of all British growth (GVA). We know our local economies and the needs of the labour market in our areas and we are committed to developing innovative ideas to create a step change in skills and training provision.

“We recognise the Government’s efforts to reform the skills system and applaud its ambition to see three million apprenticeships by 2020. However, the reality is that the number of apprenticeship starts has dropped sharply, with the number of starts falling by 24% since the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy last year.

“With that in mind, we call on the Government to give us the flexibility we need to address these issues, specifically by granting city regions control of the Apprenticeship Levy funding which levy payers do not spend, and by further devolving control of 16-19 skills policy.

“We also call on the Government to provide additional funding for us to ensure that there are enough quality providers in our city regions, and to drive the quality of apprenticeships.

“If Government allow us these flexibilities and worked with our city regions, we would ensure that it is used to deliver the gold-standard apprenticeships and skills training that our residents, employers, and the country as a whole, so desperately need.

“We call on the Skills Minister to meet with us to discuss how we can work together to drive apprenticeships and technical education in our regions.”

Maghull North rail station on track to open on Monday

The first rail service is set to leave Maghull North station for Liverpool Central at 05:58 on Monday 18th June 2018, when the new station opens to the public.

Maghull North is on the Ormskirk branch of Merseyrail’s Northern Line between Maghull and Town Green and will have 156 car parking spaces.

The new station will support local people by improving access to training, education and employment and by responding to future public transport demand from a new housing development of 370 new homes, with a further 1,700 additional homes planned.

Step-free access via station lifts will be in place from Friday 22nd June 2018.

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will declare the station officially open at an opening ceremony due to take place Friday 22nd June.

Councillor John Fairclough, Cabinet Member Locality Services, Sefton Council said: “To see the opening of the new station is excellent news for the people of Maghull, Sefton and the wider Liverpool City Region.

“The new station is a key piece of infrastructure in our Local Plan giving our towns and valued communities sufficient support to grow.

“It also connects the local area through the development of a local transport hub with facilities for buses, cycling and park & ride.

“Not only will the new station boost the local economy but it will further improve public transport capacity and connectivity across Sefton and the City Region.”

Metro Mayor Rotheram said: “I am delighted that the first services will be in place from Monday and look forward to marking the official opening on Friday.

“Through schemes like Maghull North, we are directly investing in our public transport system to deliver an improved service to the people of the city region, enabling better access to a host of opportunities for work, education and leisure.”

Liam Robinson, Transport Portfolio Holder, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority said:
“It’s been great to see the new Maghull North station develop over the last ten months and we’re delighted it’s now set to open to the public.

“This station is a prime example of our Long Term Rail Strategy being put into practice. The new station will be of huge benefit to local residents, giving more travel options while playing a big part in helping the on-going development of Maghull in the coming years.”

Operated by Merseyrail, Maghull North will become the 68th station on the network.

Andy Heath, Managing Director, Merseyrail, said:
“We’re really looking forward to welcoming Maghull North on to the Merseyrail network and enabling more people to access local rail services.
“It’s great to see these developments to the network, including the new trains which will be introduced in 2020, to help meet the needs of people in the city region.”

Facilities at the new station will include:
• Staffed station building and ticket office with passenger toilet facilities
• Passenger waiting facilities on the platforms.
• New bus shelters and stops installed adjacent to the station on School Lane, providing a seamless link between local bus services and rail services operating from the station
• 156-space car park with blue badge and motorcycle parking facilities, as well as cycle storage.
• Pedestrian and cycle routes from School Lane and Park Lane to the station,
• Passive provision for future charging points for electric vehicles
• Step-free access via lifts and bridge between both platforms from Friday 22nd June 2018.

More details on the scheme can be found on the Merseytravel website at www.merseytravel.gov.uk/MaghullNorth

Dates announced for brand new Constituency Forums

Local residents now have a new way to engage even further with Sefton Council and its partners.

Constituency Forums are being introduced as a more relaxed way for residents to talk to agencies, councillors and Council departments about any issues they have.

The forums will be held twice a year in each of the respective Parliamentary Constituencies within Sefton; Bootle, Central Sefton and Southport.

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Cabinet Member Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services, said: “After consulting about the old and aged style of Area Committees, we decided to take a look at how we engage with our communities and came up with the idea of the Constituency Forums.

“The format of the Constituency Forum will be a market-place style at which there will be a number of tables for ward Councillors, internal Sefton departments and partners to attend.

“This will give our valued residents the opportunity to arrive, get a drink and talk to agencies, councillors and departments about any issues they have, moving from table to table depending on the resident’s particular needs.

“We hope that this new format will remove the formality of the old Area Committee process and attract residents to a more relaxed public meeting at which they feel that the Council and its partners are more accessible and friendly.

“Dates for the forums have been announced and I really hope people take the time to attend them.”

The planned dates for the Constituency Forum across Sefton are:

• Bootle – Thursday, June 21 at 6.30pm in Bootle Town Hall’s Ball Room
• Central Sefton – Thursday, June 28 at 6.30pm in Crosby Lakeside
• Southport – Thursday, July 5 at 6.30pm in The Atkinson’s Studio Room

Each forum is expected to finish around 9pm.

Arrests made in Sefton during week of action

Police in Sefton have arrested three people during a week of high visibility activity targeting gun crime, drugs, scrambler bikes and anti-social behaviour in the area.

From Monday, the Community Policing Team have been conducting patrols assisted by representatives from Sefton Council, Environmental Health, One Vision Housing and Riverside Housing.

Three men were arrested on Tuesday June 12 for drugs possession, breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order and a breach of a gang injunction with a further two to voluntary attend on suspicion of drugs possession.

Officers were joined by Councillors Trish Hardy and Paul Cummins on patrol in the Bowersdale Park area of Seaforth.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “A strong visual police presence will be seen in the area reassuring our valued communities. 

 “We strongly appeal to anyone with information to do the right thing and please report anything they know.

“Through continued partnership work with Merseyside Police and others, we are working hard to bring those responsible to justice and ensure that our communities remain safe for all our residents.”

Officers are also available to speak to the community about their concerns at a series of mobile police station across the area, and the force’s Mounted Section will be out on patrol all week.

Areas of land have been searched following information coming in from the community, including North Park and, with the assistance of British Transport Police, the disused railway line at Akenside Street in Bootle, and the railway embankment off King Street.

Superintendent Matt Boyle said: “I want to reassure people that we will not tolerate those people who continue to make life difficult for decent people in our communities, and we are working with partner agencies on activities such as those that are taking place all week to ensure our communities are safe places to live and our parks can be enjoyed by all.

“We will continue to take action whenever the community tells us there are problems. I would appeal to anyone with information about gun crime, anti-social behaviour, and illegal or nuisance scrambler bikes in their areas to get in touch with us and I can assure them that we will take action. We will be concentrating on areas where people have told us they are suffering the effects of this behaviour.

“While we are focussing our efforts to combat crime in Sefton this week, we conduct patrols in the area all year-round and encourage anyone with any information about crime in their community to contact us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Merseyside Police social media desk via Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook Merseyside Police CC. You can also call 101 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information. Always call 999 in the event of an emergency or if there is a crime in progress.

South Sefton Recycling Centre temporarily closes for maintenance

Sefton residents are being made aware that the South Sefton Recycling Centre, Irlam Road, Bootle will be temporarily closed from Monday June 18 – Friday June 22.

This is to allow essential maintenance work to take place.

During the closure residents can still recycle their household waste by using any of the fourteen other recycling centres across Merseyside. 

The closest to the Irlam Road are Cheadle Avenue, Old Swan or Sefton Lane, Maghull.

South Sefton recycling centre will reopen on Saturday June 23.

Residents are also reminded not to leave any waste or dump rubbish outside any recycling centre. This is flytipping and if caught, offenders can face considerable fines. 

Carl Beer, Chief Executive of Merseyside Waste & Recycling Authority, said: “Working with our contractor Veolia the bulk of the maintenance work will introduce new traffic management measures including height restriction barriers and lane guards, which will be used to divert vehicles suspected of carrying non-household waste into areas where they can be safely and efficiently inspected.

“South Sefton has an issue with commercial operators and traders using vans to bring non-household waste onto site for disposal. The current layout means any vehicles stopped can create queues and tailbacks, which isn’t the most efficient use of the site. The new measures should put an end to this.

“We’re also taking the opportunity for some essential refurbishment work around the Centre including: repair and replacing containers, repairing lighting complete clean of the Centre, replacement of kerbstones, repair and replacement of signage and improvements to road marking and ‘safe’ routes around the site.

“The Emmaus Reuse Shop on the site will also be closed and resident will be directed to the Old Swan Reuse Shop.”

 

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