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Levelling Up Fund disappointment

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher has expressed his disappointment at the Levelling Up fund announcement by the Chancellor yesterday which saw both Sefton’s bids for Bootle and Crosby rejected.

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council said: “We are extremely disappointed by the Chancellor’s announcement today that the Government has rejected Sefton Council’s Levelling Up Fund bids for Bootle and Crosby.

“The Levelling Up Fund was intended to target those towns that have been left behind. Bootle and Crosby are among those areas hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the bids were designed so that we could regenerate the economies of our town centres and invest in our communities, people and businesses.

“They are areas that have long been overlooked by the Government in terms of regeneration and development so in these times of supposed levelling up, I cannot fathom this decision not to provide this valuable support.

“Once again, we will have to proceed with our ambitious vision to create thriving town centres that work for all people in Sefton through our own determination, and attempt to attract resources in partnership with others, and we hope the Government will take note of the situation families are facing in Bootle and Crosby.”

Find out more about Sefton Council’s Levelling Up plans for Bootle. 

Liverpool City Region leaders launch new £8.1m scheme to support Covid-hit businesses

Having successfully distributed more than £44m in emergency funding to more than 4,000 businesses across the city region, the Liverpool City Region has secured a further £8.1m to support local businesses.

The original £44m from the government’s Additional Restrictions Grant scheme was secured by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, following negotiations with government when the city region was first put into Tier Three restrictions in October 2020.

Funds to be shared under ‘Trading On Scheme’

This further £8.1m in funding – to be known as the Trading On Scheme – will be allocated to the city region’s six local authorities, proportionate to population. This latest support scheme will specifically support small or medium-sized businesses, with between 10 and 249 employees.

This further £8.1m in funding – to be known as the Trading On Scheme – will be allocated to the city region’s six local authorities, proportionate to population. This latest support scheme will specifically support small or medium-sized businesses, with between 10 and 249 employees.

Businesses across Sefton will benefit from the £1.4million allocation for the local authority area. 

The scheme will open for applications at 10am on Monday 25th October and will close at 5pm on Friday 12th November 2021.

In a joint statement, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Cllr Mike Wharton, Leader, Halton Borough Council, Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader, Knowsley Borough Council, Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Ian Maher, Leader, Sefton Borough Council, Cllr David Baines, Leader, St. Helens Borough Council and Cllr Janette Williamson, Leader, Wirral Borough Council said:

“Throughout the past 18 months, we have worked together to protect our region from the biggest challenge it has faced since the war. That collaboration, creativity and hard work resulted in millions of pounds of support that helped sustain thousands of businesses in all parts of our region through the worst of the pandemic.

“More than £44m was distributed to more than 4,000 businesses, saving many more thousands of jobs and livelihoods in the process. We start our recovery from a much stronger position as a result.

“That recovery is already well underway and received a massive boost in May, with the launch of Mayor Steve Rotheram’s £150m Covid Recovery Fund, which has allowed our region to get a headstart on the rest of the country.

“Today, we’re launching another £8.1m of funding for SMEs, who make up a massive chunk of the local economy. Together, we are making sure that the Liverpool City Region has the fastest and strongest recovery possible, with no one left behind.”

Grants to be administered by each local authority

The government requires each council to exercise its local knowledge and judgment in devising a grant scheme that aligns best with the particular economic characteristics of its area by funding those businesses that have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Because of this and the limited amount of funding available, the amounts of grant funding for individual businesses will vary across different local authority areas.

Sefton based businesses can find guidance and further details about the application process on the Sefton Council website.

The application form will go live on the website at 10am on Monday 25th October.

How Sefton Council has supported its local businesses since the start of the pandemic

Sefton Council has administered 23,000 grant payments through local, regional and national financial support packages and schemes totalling £97.7 million in payments to businesses right across the Borough – from taxi drivers to childminders to pub landlords.

A total of £41.8 million in Business Rates retail discounts were awarded in 2020/21 with a further £22.5 million awarded in 2021/22.


To administer this latest grant scheme, Sefton Council is utilising its Business Rates, InvestSefton, Tourism and Environmental Health business relationships to contact as many eligible businesses as is possible.

Anyone who has not been contacted can still check their eligibility and submit an application before the closing date of 5pm Friday 12th November 2021.

Sefton joins Northern leaders in offer to work with Government to “level up” the North

Civic and business leaders from across the North are putting forward a collective partnership offer to Government, setting out how the North can lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution and deliver on the levelling up promise.

In a document published today by the Convention of the North and the NP11 group of northern local enterprise partnerships (LEPs), northern leaders set out the five “gamechangers” which, through collaboration across the North and with Government, will grow an inclusive economy that delivers for the North and the country, while also tackling the health inequalities that have been laid bare by COVID-19. Those game changers are:

  • Leading the Green Industrial Revolution
  • Closing the healthy life expectancy gap between the North and South through innovation
  • Closing the education and skills gap
  • Improving connectivity in towns and cities in the North
  • Increasing private and public investment in R&D spending in the North

The five gamechangers represent a combined Northern offer to Government to ensure the North plays its full part in levelling up the UK, leading the transition to a Net Zero economy and developing a competitive Global Britain.

Leaders have invited the Secretary of State for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, to join them for a working Convention in Liverpool in January 2022, focused on turning the Government’s positive commitment to level up the North into action.

Liverpool City Region Mayor, Steve Rotheram, who will mark the document’s launch with a business roundtable in Liverpool focusing on the opportunities for the North to lead the transition to Net Zero, said:

“True levelling up has to mean tackling long-standing and structural inequalities that exist between North and South in this country on a wide range of issues, from healthcare and job prospects, to transport and infrastructure spending. This is not an issue of party politics but one of fairness and social justice.

“As leaders representing millions of people across the North, we want to work with government to make that a reality. The North has been hit harder than the rest of the country, but I believe that with proper support we also have the potential to bounce back further and faster than the rest of the country too.

“From levelling up to climate change and everything in between, the solutions to many of the fundamental issues facing the country lie in empowering local leaders to work with central government and take the decisions that our areas need to shape our own destinies and build a stronger, fairer, better balanced United Kingdom.”


Deputy Leader of Sefton Council and Cabinet Member for Locality Services, John Fairclough added:

‘Sefton Council  is facing huge financial pressures in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, which is still very much with us. Necessary Council Tax increases in the coming years, in part to meet the demands of caring for our most vulnerable residents, will inevitably place the burden of recovery on our residents and communities, at a time when many can least afford it.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. The Convention of the North andNP11 group are challenging Government to work collaboratively with Councils, other public bodies and business leaders throughout the region, while making proposals that, if translated into action, will truly mean levelling up in the North, including Sefton.

“From leading a green industrial revolution to reducing the gap in health outcomes for our citizens, supporting vulnerable adults, children and families, closing the education gap to having greater connectivity, these are aims that are already integral to Sefton’s Vision for 2030 and that we passionately echo alongside our peers.”

Today’s publication of Northern leaders’ collective offer to Government will pave the way for a Convention of the North with NP11 event, due to take place in Liverpool in early 2022.

Following the success of its inaugural event in September 2019, at which Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a series of commitments to the North, the Convention of the North with NP11 will work with Government to focus resources and investment on the North to allow it to level up.


Sefton revamps cycling & green travel infrastructure in Southport

Work has now begun to repair and refurbish cycling and green transport provisions in Southport Town Centre.

Hundreds of thousands of cycle journeys have been made on the town centre cycle scheme, which was introduced in the town as part of Central Government’s mandated Emergency Active Travel Scheme.

Now Sefton Council’s Active Travel team have commissioned contractors to begin works to refurbish road markings, signage and replace vandalised traffic bollards along both Hoghton Street and Queen’s Road.

These works will ultimately improve the facilities available to cyclists and other road users

Refurbishment works include:

  • Amended and retouched road markings
  • Changes to cycle lane width where space permits
  • Enhanced junction marking
  • Installation of permanent separation wands
  • Implementation of additional signage

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Locality Services, said: “We are all too aware that Sefton, like many other councils, were told by the Government to quickly implement strict active travel schemes.

“Owing to the timescales set to us by Central Government, there was relatively little time to develop the Hoghton Street project fully and this was further compounded by a national shortage of materials available to our contractors.

“Now following a detailed series of independent reviews, we have identified and implemented a series of modifications which we feel are necessary to ensure this scheme is as effective as possible.

“Once these modifications have been implemented, we remain fully committed to reviewing the scheme after six months

“Neither the Department for Transport nor the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority have provided definite criteria on which to judge the successes of such a scheme.

“As such our teams will use detailed and publicly available cycle usage data, along with further survey work, to inform future decisions over whether this scheme becomes permanent, modified further or is ultimately removed.”

For more information about Active Travel schemes and provision across Sefton, visit


Exciting Enterprise Hub plans revealed for historic Southport building

New life is set to be breathed into one of Southport’s most historic buildings as Sefton look to launch the town’s first ever purpose built workspace for start-up businesses.

Sefton Council’s Cabinet will meet next week where they are expected to formally approve plans to transform the Crown Buildings in Southport town centre into a high tech, collaborative and affordable workspace for small businesses, dubbed the ‘Enterprise Arcade.’

Forming part of the Southport Town Deal, £1.5 million has been earmarked for the regeneration and transformation of Crown Buildings, eventually creating a purpose built 15,000sq ft hub for individuals, freelancers, enterprises, and independent professionals who are taking their first steps into setting up their own business.

The Enterprise Arcade project is yet another cornerstone in the Southport Town Deal programme, reaffirming the commitment of Sefton Council and its partners to kickstart the previously untapped digital, creative and technological sectors within the resort.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This is a key project for the regeneration and economic diversification of Southport’s economy.

“The Enterprise Arcade will incorporate Crown Buildings, vacant retail units on the ground floor of Eastbank Street and adjoining office space above.

“Nationally we are seeing a move away from traditional working environments and more and more people are embracing flexible and hybrid work opportunities.

“Our Enterprise Arcade will be the ideal location for a whole host of start-up and growing businesses and individuals, whether they be in the early incubator stages of developing their brand or simply in need of flexibility and an agile approach to their working practices.

“Furthermore the Enterprise Arcade will be able to collaborate and integrate with the already exceptional cultural and educational services provided at The Atkinson, promoting and supporting the development of a focused creative and digital sector in the heart of Southport town centre.”

Liverpool based architects K2 have been appointed to develop the feasibility designs for the Enterprise Arcade space. Procurement for detailed design work will commence later this year.

Sefton Council’s Cabinet will meet on Thursday, October 7to discuss the proposals and next steps for this exciting project.

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