Since becoming Liverpool’s first directly-elected Mayor in 2012, Joe Anderson has steered the city through some of the most turbulent times in its history. In the face of deep and unrelenting cuts, which have seen Liverpool lose over 50% of its central Government funding, the Mayor has deployed a grit and determination to keep the city moving forward. And it’s safe to say it’s been a tumultuous few weeks in the world of Liverpool politics, but Anderson has strengthen his position by refreshing his top team.
In May’s Local Election, the Labour Party’s vote share went up across the entire city, with voters placing their trust in the Mayoral agenda and his exciting vision for Liverpool. The avid Everton FC supporter, who has always been a passionate advocate for the city, recently blazed a trail by appointing two female Deputy Mayors in Cllr Lynnie Hinnigan and Cllr Wendy Simon.
Like all politicians he has his detractors but his no nonsense approach, his unquestionable passion for the job, and a steely resolve to bring economic growth and prosperity to the shores of the Mersey make Liverpool’s Mayor stand out.
He’s definitely not your typical politician; his frank, fearless and often hilarious Twitter retorts will show you that – but the former Merchant Seaman could go down as one of the best leader’s Liverpool has ever had.
Despite the city being targeted by government cuts, throughout his time as Mayor he has created 16 new schools for local children.
Ministers in Whitehall still choose to implement policy that only serves to widen the North-South divide and without strong leadership, Liverpool would emerge as the biggest loser. But the Mayor has helped build 5,045 new homes and has refurbished 3,256 empty properties, generating millions in extra council tax. He has also been responsible for 31,013 new jobs and the city’s economy has grew faster than Manchester’s in recent years.
The Government has made it a statuary requirement for Local Authorities like Liverpool City Council to draw up Local Plans and set unreasonable housing targets, forcing many to build on precious green space. But Liverpool has bucked the national trend – with Anderson ensuring there are now 60 acres of new and improved green and open spaces across the city for residents to enjoy. 3,138 new trees have also been planted.
Thanks to a new and effective way of doing things, Liverpool has become one of the UK’s most business-friendly but fiscally responsible cities, helping 1,481 existing companies to grow and another 269 start-ups whilst investing £1m to ensure city-wide access to credit unions. Liverpool is hosting the forthcoming International Festival of Business for a second time is testament to that.
The Mayor’s big ambition has always been to see the city grow and his record of delivery reinforces that he has indeed achieved a lot, but there is still much to do.
He is Liverpool’s best hope for economic prosperity in the long-term, and that is why he’s the best bet for Liverpool’s continued renaissance.