Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, has marked the second anniversary of his election, in May 2017, with a celebration of the Combined Authority’s achievements so far and an announcement on the next stage of the Mersey Tidal Power project. Speaking on the anniversary, Steve Rotheram said: “Devolution has given us the opportunity to do things differently and we’re determined to make the most of it. “Working together across six authorities, representing 1.6 million people, we are using the powers and funding we’ve taken from Westminster and Whitehall to make decisions locally to help build a society that’s fair, prosperous and benefits everyone. That means well-paying jobs, access to skills for the modern economy, better public transport and decent affordable housing. “We’re planning for the long-term to deliver that but there’s a huge amount we’re doing that is benefitting communities right now. In jobs and skills we’ve invested £400 million to create 9,000 jobs and 5,500 apprenticeships, launched the UK’s first Apprentice Portal and introduced the ground-breaking Households into Work programme, which is helping 800 people overcome barriers to get back into employment. “In transport, we’ve delivered a £1 tunnel toll for city region residents, opened new and improved Merseyrail stations in Maghull North and Newton-le-Willows, re-opened the Halton Curve rail line and created half-price bus travel for young apprentices. Our £460 million investment in new, state-of-the-art trains for the Merseyrail network, owned by us locally, sees the first trains arriving on the network next year. “At the same time we’re progressing longer-term transformational projects. As a city region we have successfully made the case for our connections to Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2, that will bring a £15 billion economic boost and 24,000 new jobs, and established a Station Commission to build the new station we’ll need. And our ultra-fast digital network will make us the most digitally connected city region in the UK and boost our economy. “And I can announce today that we are progressing the next phase of the Mersey Tidal Power project to harness the power for the River Mersey as we move to develop an outline business case to determine the project’s viability. “If successful, a tidal project could play a key role in meeting our pledge to become zero carbon by 2040, potentially generating enough predictable, renewable, green energy to power up to a million homes, making the Liverpool City Region a world leader in this rapidly growing low-carbon industry, while creating thousands of jobs for local people. “Devolution gives us the scale and powers necessary to pursue this kind of transformative project and the opportunity to shape the skills we need for our local economy, which means we can ensure that our children and young people develop in the areas they would need to benefit from these jobs.” Since the Metro Mayor’s election, the Liverpool City Region has secured more than £183m in additional funding from Government. This money has only been offered to the city region because it has a Metro Mayor. Areas without one, like West Yorkshire and the East Midlands, have missed out. That additional funding includes: £172m Transforming Cities Fund; £7.7m for a Housing First approach to tackling homelessness; £2.1m Homelessness Trailblazer Funding; and £2m from the Mayoral Capacity Fund Over the last two years since the election of a Metro Mayor, the Combined Authority has delivered on a wide range of achievements, including keeping mayoral manifesto commitments, such as: Introducing a £1 Fast Tag Mersey Tunnel Toll, saving regular users over £400 a year; Delivering half-price bus travel for all apprentices under the age of 25; Launching the country’s first UCAS-style web portal for apprenticeships; Forming the Mersey Tidal Power Commission; Creating the Fairness and Social Justice Advisory Board to ensure that social justice and social value are hard wired into policy making; and Becoming the first Combined Authority in the country accredited as a Real Living Wage employer. It has also made major investments to grow the economy by: Creating the Strategic Investment Fund which will provide an additional £500m in funding for the City Region over the next five years; Launching the ground-breaking Households into Work programme, which is supporting 800 people who are long-term unemployed back into the workplace ; Launching a £6m Mayoral Town Centre Fund to support local high streets; Investing £40 million in 30 schools and colleges across the city region; Investing £10 million in the Shakespeare North project; Launching the city region’s Borough of Culture programme and allocating 1% of devolution funds to cultural projects; And improved the city region’s transport system through: Re-opening the Halton Curve to allow direct services between Chester/Wrexham and Lime Street (via Liverpool South Parkway for the airport) from May 2019 – the first services from Wales since 1975 Opening a new station at Maghull North and a refurbished station building and interchange at Newton-le-Willows; Investing in the first phase of a £16m 372 mile walking and cycling network; Progressing the £460 million project to introduce new publicly-owned trains onto the Merseyrail network from early 2020; Securing increased compensation for Northern Rail and Trans Pennine Express passengers affected by last May’s timetable disruption through the Metro Mayor’s role on Transport for the North.