Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, will today announce a half a billion pound fund to help transform the city region’s economy, creating high-quality jobs and boosting living standards for local people. The Strategic Investment Fund will make delivering local jobs and positive social impacts, like paying the living wage, an increasingly significant factor in approving funding. Around £100 million will be available in the first year of the fund, rising to £500 million over four years. Speaking about the fund, Steve Rotheram said: “Our key purpose as a Combined Authority is to improve our residents’ lives, by creating the right environment for our economy to thrive, while ensuring that growth benefits everyone through well paid local jobs and increased living standards. “Through the Strategic Investment Fund we will have around half a billion pounds available to support projects in areas such as transport infrastructure, economic development, business growth, skills, culture and housing. “Devolution gives us the opportunity to do things differently, and one of the ways we will do that is by making clear to applicants that they will have a better chance of success if their bids demonstrate positive social impact. “So for example, we will consider their bid more highly if they pay the living wage, recognise trades unions, create apprenticeships and use local supply chains and labour to deliver their projects. “We are determined to ensure that in an uncertain, post-Brexit world this funding delivers the maximum possible benefit to the people of the whole Liverpool City Region. That is why we will be working hard to ensure we fund transformational projects that have the highest possible impact in Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.” The Combined Authority has already identified projects which can receive support from the fund including: Ultra-fast broadband for every borough A new smart ticketing system to replace the Walrus card Help for our high streets And a new generation of Mersey Ferries The Combined Authority’s previous Single Investment Fund allocated £400m of investments across the city region which will create £1.7bn of economic activity, 9000 jobs, 5,500 apprenticeships, and support a wide range of projects, including: £19m for the Newton-le-Willows interchange £13m for a new station at Maghull North £20m for a new Cruise Liner Terminal £2.5m for Blackburne House in Liverpool 8, one of the country’s leading educational centres for women £3.4 million for Alstom for a state-of-the-art train maintenance and repair facility, creating hundreds of local jobs and apprenticeships £30m for 40 skills projects in local colleges £12m for Paddington Village in the Knowledge Quarter £14 million for the Shakespeare North Playhouse and a Rail Interchange project in Prescot The new Strategic Investment Fund recognises the need to improve the city region’s capacity to develop high-impact investment-ready projects and will provide pre-development funding to help expand and improve the pipeline of projects that it can fund, by providing support to prospective applicants to help analyse markets, identify opportunities and develop projects. The Strategic Investment Fund also recognises the importance of culture to the Liverpool City Region, with a short-form approval process for projects of less than £1m, designed to enable the Combined Authority to offer better support for smaller cultural projects.