COUNCIL leader Mike Jones has dismissed a plan to include Chester in a larger Liverpool city region.
Liverpool Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle commissioned research into alternatives to the current set-up in the city, which he has branded a toothless ‘cosy cabal’.
The shock results suggest Chester, along with Ellesmere Port and Neston, Warrington and even Flintshire and Wrexham, should be included in a much-expanded Liverpool.
The MP ordered the research because he says the current arrangement, a ‘cabinet’ of the leaders of the six Merseyside councils, is letting Merseyside down. He wants a directly-elected mayor to give real power to the Liverpool ‘city region’.
Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Mike Jones said: “We are always prepared to work with the Merseyside authorities and those in North Wales on projects designed to better the quality of life for our communities.
“However, west Cheshire is already part of an effective economic sub-region with Warrington and that is where we believe our interests are best served at the moment.”
But the study has been sent to MPs and bodies in Liverpool, urging them to embrace the plans.
Among the other key conclusions are calls for a directly-elected mayor, a 12strong assembly and tax and spend powers.
The study warns current multi-area agreements have ‘no power’ because they impose no duties on councils to co-operate.
Mr Kilfoyle said: “We are going about this in a halfcocked, British way, creating a cosy local cabal while maintaining the status quo.
“A lead must come from somewhere if we are to enthuse people and channel inventiveness and dynamism.”