City Business Leader Says Liverpool’s Decline ‘Cannot Go On’

According to a business executive, Liverpool’s management problems have caused investment to “dry up” and the city to “move backwards.”

Since commissioners took over several departments, the city council has been plagued by issues, and on Monday, its top executive resigned.

Confidence was “extremely low,” according to Frank McKenna, who represents more than 500 businesses, and the city’s slide “cannot carry on.”

The city, according to mayor Joanne Anderson, is “on a transformation path.”

In March 2021, commissioners were appointed to take over several of the council’s functions, but further problems have since arisen for the council.

It was discovered in May that a mistake caused its energy bill to climb by £10 million, and a month later, a study showed that it had neglected to renew service contracts at a cost of millions of dollars.

The city has “gone backwards” in recent years, according to Mr. McKenna, the head of the private sector lobbying organization Downtown in Business, and investment has “dried up.”

He said that there had been few or no new developments in the past two years because “the planning department has been in a zombified condition.”

Before the commissioners took charge, he claimed, the city’s business community “enjoyed a solid connection with the council… and has been disregarded.”

He continued by saying that the commissioners should include “seasoned Liverpool characters.”

The lack of Liverpool voices in the current leadership team, he claimed, was a serious issue for the city.

“I have never experienced a period of such low business confidence.

We are angry, worried, and gloomy about the direction the city is taking.

The head of the Liverpool Business Improvement District, Bill Addy, expressed concern and a need for more “operation” and “communication.”

The private sector “should not and does not have a say in the administration of a democratically-elected local government, however we would advocate stability and security,” according to Mr. Addy, who represents approximately 1,000 city center firms.

“Investors need to perceive Liverpool as a viable option and a city they can rely on to conduct business,” he added.

“We want the commissioners to recognize that Liverpool is stronger when it works together rather than treating the city as a closed door.

“With important choices to be taken by business, across all sectors, and investors, the city cannot be left to drift.”

Serious problems were exposed at the council, according to Ms. Anderson, who took office as city mayor after the commissioners were appointed and promised to overhaul the authority. “The cabinet and I felt that the situation deserved a major reaction,” she said.

The council, according to her, started its development plan in 2021 and was currently “on a change path.”

Major restructuring and changes are an essential component of that journey, she continued, adding that “things just had to change” and that they still do.

She acknowledged that while she had previously collaborated with the corporate world and would do so in the future, she was “glad to be doing things differently than in years past, knowing that merely listening to the loudest voices isn’t always the best path ahead.”

She said, “As mayor, I have developed new connections with businesses, leaders, and investors… who are enthusiastic about the city’s new, renewed, and transparent approach.

I’m convinced that business is better even if it may not be “business as usual.”

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