BBC News:Liverpool City Region's councils to bid for devolution deal

Council leaders have agreed to submit a bid for a devolution deal that could pave the way for an elected mayor in the Liverpool City Region.

Wirral Council leader Phil Davies confirmed a bid would be in place before the government's deadline of 4 September.

Speaking on behalf of all six council leaders, Mr Davies said it was a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

A devolution deal could see a new mayor for Liverpool and the wider region.

The measures would also give the authorities in Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley and St. Helens - as well as Halton in Cheshire - greater control over funding in areas such as transport, housing and planning.

However, some leaders in the city region are not thought to share Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson's desire to have a mayor for the whole area.

They have previously insisted they wanted a referendum on whether to have a directly elected mayor.

Mr Davies, who chairs the Liverpool City Region group, said confirmation of the bid was "just the start of a process" and there would be further debate over how any deal would work.

The chancellor announced in the Budget that the government was working on deals to extend the idea of the "Northern Powerhouse" to Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, and Leeds and West Yorkshire, in return for the creation of directly elected mayors.

Mr Davies told BBC Radio Merseyside: "We will be setting out a broad set of key themes we want to talk to the government about.

"This will then involve a pretty intensive negotiation with government around the detail."

Asked if a deal would genuinely give the region more control over its own destiny, Mr Davies said: "The test will be what we're able to negotiate over the next few months.

"I think we need to come up with a really ambitious package."

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