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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.”

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 6pm to 7.30pm in Crosby Lakeside
• Southport – Thursday, July 5 at 6pm to 7.30pm in The Atkinson’s Studio Room

 

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.”

 

Hundreds of volunteers help launch Green Sefton

Hundreds of volunteers turned out to help celebrate the launch of Green Sefton on World Oceans Day (June 8).

Litter picks and waterside clean-ups were held across the borough ahead of a special launch event at Crosby Coastal Park to welcome the formation of Green Sefton, a brand new team to help keep Sefton clean, green and beautiful.

Clean-ups were held at Southport’s Marine Lake, Ainsdale Beach and the Brewery Lane stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Green Sefton brings together Coast & Countryside, Parks & Greenspaces, Flooding & Coastal Erosion, Risk Management and Grounds Maintenance teams all together to ensure a joined up approach to the vital management, development and oversight of Sefton’s beautiful coastline, parks and green spaces for years to come.

Residents had the chance to meet the Green Sefton team who explained the work they will do, from land management and community engagement to vital work surveying the changing shape of Sefton’s coast and what this means to residents and visitors.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We want to to say a massive thank you to all the community groups, volunteers and green-fingered helpers who came out to help on World Oceans Day.

“Sefton is a clean, green and beautiful borough that is internationally recognised for its natural beauty and we will build on this through the work of Green Sefton and working closely with our volunteers.

“Green Sefton has been created to make sure we continue our focus on a collaborative approach to the management, development and oversight of our beautiful coastline, parks and green spaces.

“We believe this will also encourage more community cohesion, more involvement with our volunteers and residents, as well as eco organisations.”

For updates on Green Sefton events, activities and partnership opportunities, check out Sefton Council’s social media channels.

Record crowds flock to Southport Food & Drink festival

A record 36,000 visitors enjoying all of the delights of the 12th Annual Southport Food & Drink festival last weekend.

Food such as Persian lamb dishes, award winning oriental food, wild boar burgers, vegan food, waffles and chicken to name a few, were on offer from over 80 street traders.

Local producers were joined by businesses from over the North West and sold food such as cheese, pies, scones, brownies and fudge with many selling out each day and leaving with smiles on their faces.

As a family event the little ones enjoyed the children’s entertainment where there were regular magic shows, grass sports, face painting, slime making and crafts. Inflatables and water walking also provided plenty of entertainment.

Families and groups of friends attended the event and thoroughly enjoyed their visit with many setting up a picnic area on the grass and enjoying the entire day and beautiful surroundings of Victoria Park.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Record numbers of both visitors and traders enjoyed this year’s Southport Food and Drink Festival, which continues to be bigger and better each year.

“We had really good weather this, combined with an array of delicious food and mouthwatering drinks, led to a fantastic three days at Victoria Park.

“This is just the start of an exciting events programme organised by Sefton Council, with the Air Show taking place in July followed by the British Musical Fireworks Championship at the end of September – there really is going to be something for everyone.

“The excellent events programme coupled with other tourism activity demonstrates Sefton’s commitment to the visitor economy, with the determination to facilitate its growth across the borough.”

Sefton welcomes over 8.7 million visitors a year contributing over £518 million to the local economy.

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