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Liverpool City Council Funding

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:14 am on 29th October 2019.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Minister of State (Cabinet Office), Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (jointly with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) 11:14 am, 29th October 2019

I accept that. In my penultimate point, I will address the two points raised by the hon. Gentleman about the real purposes of the debate. First, on an urgent meeting, I am not able to promise that the Secretary of State will meet the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues urgently. However, I am more than happy to meet them myself, which is a promise that I can make. I am sure that he will be in touch, or my private office will be in touch—subject to the limited opportunity that might be available if the election motion passes today. If it is at all possible, I will certainly do that. I have always taken great pride in being from Liverpool. In fact, my grandparents lived in the hon. Gentleman’s constituency, in a place called Hayman’s Green, just behind the village centre in West Derby, so I know his constituency extremely well.

Finally, on the royal commission, the future of local government funding is something that would of course be set out in a Budget, but it appears that we will not have a Budget before 6 November. I suggest that the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby, keeps a close eye on what might be in a Budget. However, I reassure him on the point about the proportion of council tax properties in different bands. Since 2016-17, distribution of resources in the central grant system has taken into account the banding of council tax and business rates payers in the city. We believe that we have addressed that, which historically has been a major problem for cities such as Liverpool.

In conclusion, I hope that the hon. Gentleman, like me, occasionally gets the opportunity to visit the Pier Head. When I do, I look at the “Three Graces” buildings, including the Royal Liver building and the Cunard building, and all the fantastic architecture, and I am always struck by the fact that those buildings show their best face to the world. In fact, the back of the buildings, facing Saint Nick’s church, are relatively plain. Their best face looks out to sea, and that is what Liverpool has always done and will continue to do. After we leave the European Union, a global Britain can be led once again by a global Liverpool.