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Lord Heseltine, second from left, with, from left, Director of the Heseltine Institute, Professor Alan Harding; University of Liverpool Executive-Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Derrington and Liverpool City Council Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald
Lord Heseltine will stress the power of localism in an increasingly competitive world when he launches the University of Liverpool’s Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice in the city later today.
Lord Heseltine, who served as a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1966 to 2001, is one of very few Conservative politicians to retain affection in the region. He was dubbed Minister for Merseyside in the wake of the 1981 Toxteth riots, and led what has since become a sustained renaissance in a city badly damaged by the industrial decline of the 1970s and 80s.
Today, Lord Heseltine still feels “there’s a piece of me that lives on Merseyside” and he considers his first involvement in the region to have come at a time when it was “at the bottom”.
Lord Heseltine said: “Looking around the city today, I think, my word, if we did all this in 40 years, imagine what we could do in a century.”
His new position, as figurehead for the University’s Heseltine Institute, allows him to maintain his influence as part of an organisation aiming to build prosperous and sustainable futures for places and enable them to manage the impacts of global economic, environmental, social and cultural change.
Professor Alan Harding is Director of the Heseltine Institute, he said: “Our ambitions for the Institute reflect Lord Heseltine’s longstanding commitment to enlightened debate, new ways of working and decisive action. By combining intellectual energy with robust evidence and by engaging with people who are tackling policy challenges at first hand, we can offer a unique source of original, intelligent thinking and deliver fresh perspectives that are of real practical use.”
‘No stone unturned’
The launch of the Heseltine Institute comes almost exactly a year since the publication of the former Deputy Prime Minister’s ‘No Stone Unturned’ report. Commissioned by the current government, the report urged Westminster to hand back decision-making powers to Britain’s major cities giving them greater say over matters including transport, housing, and vocational training. Authorities announced in March that 81 of the report’s 89 recommendations are to be accepted.
Lord Heseltine said: “Things are happening. Nothing quite happens at the scale and speed you would like but there’s no doubt that at Whitehall there’s a recognition that local people have got to have a much bigger role in the decisions that affect them, and that they are in a better position to influence those decisions. The culture is changing.”
Lord Heseltine officially launches the Heseltine Institute of Public Policy and Practice today at the Camp and Furnace in Liverpool’s Baltic Quarter. You can keep up to date on the launch by following @livuniheseltine on twitter, and by using #heseltinelaunch
The launch is followed by the last in the current series of Policy Provocations. Asking Should we loosen our green belts? the debate features Friends of the Earth’s Naomi Luhde-Thompson; Professor Ian Wray from the Town and Country Planning Association; URBED Director, Dave Rudlin and Alex Morton, Head of Housing, Planning and Urban Policy at Policy Exchange.
Tickets are free, visit http://www.liv.ac.uk/events/policy-provocations/green-belts.php for more. You can also get involved on twitter by following the live tweets @livuniheseltine and using #policyprov
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