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The hon. Gentleman is quite right, but my point is that, even if we are substituting those houses with new ones, we are still not building enough additional properties, net, to solve the problem.
The Chancellor sees himself as the champion of devolution and the northern powerhouse, and that is a fair claim for him to make. I am very much in favour of greater devolution and the development of city regions, and there are many problems in our city region that need to be addressed. Time forbids me from going into them all, but, for example, we need to get 42,000 more people into employment and an increase in income of about £1,700 per head if we are to close the gap between us and the UK average. The Chancellor said that in his view, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to leadership for city regions, yet the evidence of Manchester suggests that there is a favoured option—an elected mayor.
The key to unlocking more resources and powers appears to involve agreeing to have an elected mayor. Regardless of my views on elected mayors, there is no consensus on this on Merseyside. I do not think it should be for the Government to insist on people having one thing before they can get another. There should be a referendum so that the people can have their say on the matter. I hope that progress on devolution to city regions will not be sacrificed purely on the basis that there is no consensus on an elected mayor for the Liverpool city region.