In a few months’ time people living in the Wirral will have the opportunity to elect a new Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region.
The elections will be taking place on the 4 May 2017 and Labour’s candidate is Steve Rotheram who is currently the MP for Liverpool Walton. The post of Metro Mayor is a new post and it will give those elected for the post new devolved powers.
Wirral is within the Liverpool City Region so whoever is elected will represent the Wirral along with other local authority areas including Liverpool.
The Bus Services Bill which is currently going through Parliament would give the new Mayor powers over the bus systems which operate in the region that they represent. This means they would be able to regulate more.
When the Bus Services Bill becomes law this will mean that the Liverpool City Region would be able to franchise their own bus services.
In terms of where the Bill is currently up to it has had its second reading on the 1 March. The Bill passed without a division. It will now move on to Committee Stage in the House of Commons.
Steve has made clear how important connectivity and transport is for our local economy during his campaign and has pledged that he will re-regulate the buses if he is elected.
The issue of the deregulation of buses has been around for a long time. In the 1980s the bus industry was de-regulated by the Conservative government except in London.
I am a huge supporter of the devolution of powers. To make, for example, buses really work well for everyone in a particular area needs an understanding of the area. Steve definitely has this understanding of the needs of our area.
If an elected Mayor is given the powers to regulate as part of a devolution process then I welcome this approach.