BARRIE GRUNEWALD: Together we are stronger

Councils on Merseyside are stronger when they work together.
Councils on Merseyside are stronger when they work together.
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CREATING more jobs for the people of St Helens is my number one priority.

That’s why I work closely with the leaders of other councils in the Merseyside area – Liverpool, Knowsley, Halton, Wirral and Sefton - to find ways of boosting economic development and growth across the whole region.

Working together like this – in an informal way – has already proved very successful. As a group we’ve been able to make big improvements in areas like skills training, transport and housing.

This group of councils, known as the Liverpool City Region, has achieved a great deal.

But I think we all accept that if we are to get the funding we’re entitled to from the government, then we need to take things a stage further.

At the end of the day we’ll be competing with many other city regions for a set amount of national resources.

Take Greater Manchester for example. Authorities there have been working together as combined authority for some time and as a result are ideally placed to maximise their funding from the government.

Therefore we’ve agreed to take part in a review to look at a similar set-up for the Liverpool City Region.

A combined authority will align our strategic decision making around economic development, transport, skills and regeneration.

You’ve probably also heard about proposals for an elected ‘Regional Mayor.’

But I can assure you that this is definitely NOT going to happen – and St Helens will continue to maintain its own proud identity, with the key decisions affecting local people taken by local people here in the town.

g Three week cough? Get it checked NOW. We’re currently doing all we can to support what – for many people – will be one of the most important health messages they are ever likely to hear.

And that is to get checked by your doctor if you’ve had a cough that’s lasted longer than three weeks.

It’s part of the national NHS ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign, but here in St Helens we probably need to pay more attention than most.

Along with much of northern England, knowledge of lung cancer – and its early symptoms – is poor. In 2010 lung cancer claimed the lives of 126 people in St Helens, while 149 patients were diagnosed with the disease.

That’s too many lives lost.

We have plenty of help available in the borough. As well as GPs, Get Checked volunteers will be out in the community and attending events such as the Ruskin Drive sports festival on 13 and 14 July - to offer support and information.

The St Helens Health Improvement Team also provides a stop smoking service for local residents. If you are looking for help and advice, they can offer tried and tested ways to help you.