Barrie Grunewald: Devolution is no done deal

Council leader 'Barrie Grunewald
Council leader 'Barrie Grunewald

We’re seeing a lot more in the local papers on the latest devolution proposals for the Liverpool City Region.

However the St Helens position remains the same - and it’s simply this: St Helens Council, and indeed the other local authorities, have yet to be given the detail of which powers will be devolved and what a final devolution deal might look like.

All the council leaders signed up to the devolution document. But we’ve always been very clear to Government - show us the deal and we, along with our fellow local councillors, will decide. It’s a reasonable and straightforward position.

There are a number of areas I’d like to see devolved down but, until any final deal is presented to us, we’re just not in a position to see whether the ‘prize is worth the price’ of an elected Mayor.

Top recycling communities and households in St Helens are in line for monthly prizes – with the launch of a new incentive scheme across the borough.

Our new Recycling Rewards scheme – funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government – will award prizes based on the amount of material we recycle.

Welcome packs will start arriving through letterboxes on Monday (October 26), with details of how to activate your account – and containing a card that also entitles holders to exclusive offers and discounts from local businesses.

The scheme will reward areas and individuals for improved performance.

Each month, the top performing recycler and runner up in each ward will win £50 and £25 respectively to spend on a choice of vouchers - including Marks and Spencer and iTunes products, family experiences or local charity donations.

Charities will also be among the winners – with all ‘activated’ members of the recycling scheme able to vote for the good causes they’d like to see get a share of £10,000 at the end of the scheme.

So the more you reduce, reuse and recycle – the better chance you have of winning rewards for yourself and for local charities like HoneyRose Foundation, the Steve Prescott Foundation, the Hope Centre and Willowbrook Hospice.

Our Digital Communities partnership with O2 is already getting more people to think digital. But our young people are also being encouraged to ‘Think Big.’

The Think Big project is a big part of the overall programme. O2 is offering 30 Think Big grants of £300 each for local young people (aged 13-25) along with mentoring sessions, to help them take their first steps in the digital business world, using digital for social good to improve

their community or the environment.

And St Helens Council, in partnership with St Helens Chamber, are offering to fund an additional 30 projects!