Liverpool was growing in confidence and prosperity when Covid-19 hit, creating the most severe economic, social and health crisis in living memory.
Our city has been hit as hard as any in the UK and it has been humbling to see a reaction of characteristic grit and solidarity.
We know things are still hard but every day brings us one step closer to the end of the current crisis.We won’t return to how things were any time soon, but the last year has made us more determined than ever to build, together with residents, a better, brighter and fairer future for the people of Liverpool.
Our City Plan provides the vision for the long term future of the city and we will advance it by:
But this crisis has changed our world, and so alongside long term planning we must act quickly on the short term priorities which have become more important than ever through the pandemic.
We must spend our budget where it is needed most. Focus our resources where it will have the biggest impact on turning the tide of inequality in our city, and remain focused on the most important challenges of our time:
On top of our existing and ongoing commitments in relation to minimising the short-term impacts of the pandemic: Testing, contact tracing, support for people who are self-isolating, the creation of Covid-19 safe environments, and the roll out of the vaccination programme; we are also making 10 Pandemic Pledges to help the people of Liverpool thrive over the next year, these are:
It is very likely that Covid-19 will become an endemic disease. The impact of Covid-19 does not end with a vaccine.
We will work closely with local health and care partners, primary care networks and our communities to super charge efforts to respond to poor health and inequalities, building resilience, supporting the most vulnerable and those who have struggled the most throughout the pandemic.
Our extra focus will go towards the mental health challenges which have hit individuals and communities hard. A one-off extra £500,000 will be put towards improving mental health, and the City Council and its partners will roll out a new offer of comprehensive mental health services including the QWell online support tool, additional services for anxiety and low level depression, psychological support for health and social care staff that have maintained key services to support people through the pandemic, alongside other befriending, isolation and bereavement support services.
We will harness the power of movement, increasing physical activity levels to improve physical and mental health, tackle inequalities and level the playing field for all in accessing opportunities to be healthy and active.
As we move from the response phase of the pandemic and into recovery, the factors that make certain individuals, households and communities more vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 will also influence their capacity to recover from them. We will develop a “Health in All Policies” (HiAP) approach, which supports public health involvement across all sectors of our economy and communities and can leverage opportunities to maximise health and wellbeing.
The recovery process in this city will seek to make the healthy choice the default and easy choice for people by redesigning the city in ways that will help people to live healthier lives.
We want Liverpool to be at the heart of the most ethical and value led economic region in the UK. To do this, we will provide a proactive service to help local people get back into work as quickly as possible.
We will work with our partners to provide internships and apprenticeships as well as help deliver the Kickstart programme in order to stop young people drifting into unemployment.
We will refocus our business support services to meet the dual challenges posed by both Covid recovery and leaving the European Union. We will focus on job creation, particularly for those residents who have been made unemployed in the hospitality and leisure sectors, and will provide support to a minimum of 400 businesses in Liverpool.
We will also deliver a £1 million high street renewal pilot programme on County Road, with learning from this pilot being rolled out across the City as part of the Next Generation Neighbourhoods programme.
We will focus our efforts to maximise the opportunities for new jobs in the Green Economy and in the Creative and Digital skills sectors and will provide pathways for local residents to gain skills and employment in these sectors.
We will bring forward a range of major, innovative capital schemes in the Knowledge Quarter and through the delivery of new film studios in the City, ensuring the long term delivery of a wide range of higher skilled jobs that our City needs.
Last summer as part of the Liverpool Without Walls scheme, we closed city centre streets and helped restaurants, cafes and bars take over outdoor spaces in the city centre.
This energised our amazing hospitality sector and allowed people to eat out safely.
The importance of the hospitality and cultural sector to Liverpool’s recovery can’t be overstated, so we will commit to continuing this scheme throughout 2021 and will undertake a consultation process around permanently closing some city centre streets so that they can offer an outdoor dining and cultural experience all year round.
We will also be focusing our cultural programming into the city centre throughout 2021, and tied to this will be our preparation for the World Gymnastics Championships 2022, the opening of new pop up film studios, the refurbishment of our heritage buildings and a community engagement programme to ensure a vibrant voice for all our residents.
We want a cleaner and greener Liverpool, so in the next 3 years will be spending up to £10 million making the city greener by investing in parks, green spaces and other areas to play and exercise in.
Investing in green space, trees, and protecting wildlife is vital in our efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change.
Lockdown has shown just how much we love and need our beautiful green spaces and clean air, so over the next year we will show our commitment to carbon reduction by 2030 through action, not talk:
An Education Improvement Plan was established in the height of the pandemic and sets out 5 priorities which were critical pre-pandemic but exacerbated since.
It includes supporting the mental health and well-being of children and young people; ensuring that all children can read; that our establishments are inclusive and meet the needs of children and young people with SEND and those who are vulnerable; and ensuring that there are appropriate pathways to securing further education, employment and training.
£12 million of Council funding over three years has been secured for delivery of the Education Improvement Plan to ensure that there is equality and equity for all children in accessing and receiving a good education.
We will provide free home broadband for those children and families in or at risk of poverty.
The pandemic has shown that ‘digital exclusion’ impacts health, education and opportunities in a far greater way than previously thought.
Working with private sector partners and the public we estimate this could help 20,000 children and is part of our wider commitment to give the whole city a digital future.
The last year has increased the challenges many households face with regards to both food and fuel poverty. This is simply not good enough.
We will seek investment to deliver long term retrofit and renewal housing programmes across the City. To start, we will deliver a full home energy efficiency programme in Liverpool, while providing a free advice and support service for anyone who is struggling to heat their home or pay their energy bills. We will also introduce new planning legislation which sets high quality energy efficiency and lifetime homes standards for all new build property in the City.
Everyone in Liverpool should have access to affordable, good quality and nutritious food.
Together with those with lived experiences of hunger and food insecurity, staff and volunteers on the front line of food provision, purpose driven businesses and third sector partners, we will work to be heard at national level, and engage with the National Food Strategy team. Liverpool’s ‘Good Food Plan’ will be co-produced and will include an action plan to strengthen community response, and ensure high quality front line food provision. We will commit to making the ‘Right to Food’ a reality for all while prioritising those most at risk of food insecurity; and work to have this right made a statutory duty for local authorities and the Government.
We have all spent more time in our local streets and communities over the past year. And that has inspired many of us to think differently about what we want from where we live.
We want to build safe, sustainable and inspiring neighbourhoods by offering greater community engagement and empowerment and providing more say in decisions that impact local areas and services.
A Neighbourhood Renewal pilot in Picton is responding to the priorities identified by local people and is looking at more effective and efficient ways to use our enforcement powers, adapting local waste collection and street cleaning services, planning local highways and public realm to reflect the needs of the community. We are also bringing void property and derelict land back into use to revitalise the area.
We will roll this pilot out more widely, while at the same time continuing an £11m alleyway renewal programme and provision of communal bins, delivering additional green transport networks and investing in providing more energy efficient street lighting in partnership with local residents.
Throughout the pandemic, the willingness of people to volunteer and come together and organise has been inspiring. We want to capture that spirit and work with communities to build new groups, create opportunities for volunteering and community upcycling centres to support the local exchange of goods and services.
Over time these small things will help create sustainable, affordable and adaptable homes in well managed and well-designed streets.
These are Liverpool’s Next Generation Neighbourhoods.
The pandemic has shown how important healthy relationships are. It has also exposed how some people struggle with issues such as social isolation and domestic abuse.
We plan to ‘open closed doors’ through schemes including:
The Shared Lives Project — an innovative scheme to connect families and individuals at different stages of their life to combat loneliness and isolation. This might be linking older people who live alone with families who are not their own.
Safe Homes — a new programme to tackle the increase in domestic violence which has occurred during the pandemic. This will include listening to the voice of the victim and ensuring domestic abuse victims know where to get help, by using different ways of communicating with residents as well as ensuring services meet the needs of the whole family. We will support domestic abuse agencies to respond to the challenges of Covid-19 and maximise investment in services for adult and child victims. We will also implement the new Domestic Abuse Bill to provide additional safer accommodation and support.
Early help — we plan to spend £1m to further strengthen and extend the range of ‘early help’ (preventive) services so that families receive help as soon as problems emerge. This will involve working with families to resolve difficulties and stopping them from becoming entrenched or escalating.
Foster carers — we are committed to recruiting 50 new foster carers this year to help keep children in their own communities and help them maintain their friendships.
Throughout the pandemic new collaborations have been forged which have created real and tangible change. These partnerships with business and local communities show a more collaborative and open approach to working.
The creation of a small number of ‘action groups’ in order to generate ideas and build stronger links between the City Council, its residents and businesses will be created to make the most of these new relationships.
This will include the establishment of a ‘Citizens Panel’ to provide feedback to the Council and generate ideas.