The City of Liverpool has a population around 470,000, with 1.4m overall in the wider Merseyside area. As well as the city borough itself the urban area spreads into the separate metropolitan boroughs of Knowsley, Sefton and Wirral across the River Mersey.
Liverpool’s population declined between the 1950s and the 1980s as its port (once one of the World’s largest) and the industrial base contracted. It has been growing slowly over the last two decades but projections suggest it will grow only modestly to reach 0.5m by 2037. Projections suggest some peripheral districts of Merseyside could lose population as the city itself grows.
Although smaller than in the past, the city still has the third largest port in the UK, which employs around 6,000 people. Other significant industries include chemicals, food processing, business and financial services, the so-called knowledge economy, retail, tourism and motor manufacturing, which employs 8,000 directly. There are concerns about how Brexit could impact Jaguar Land Rover at Halewood together with the Vauxhall Motors plant at Ellesmere Port across the River Mersey, now owned by French manufacturer PSA.
The area possibly has one of the most devolved systems of government in the country. The City of Liverpool itself has had a directly elected mayor since 2012. Mayor Joe Anderson has taken a close personal interest in regeneration, job creation, housing provision and re-establishing Liverpool as a world class city. The wider Liverpool City Region has had an elected mayor since 2017. Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s policy pledges include building 25,000 new homes by 2022 with a ‘brownfield first’ focus, tackling homelessness, improving skills and regional transport.
One of the most significant infrastructure projects in the region is Peel Ports’ Liverpool 2 deep water port facility at Seaforth which opened in 2016. The facility can handle the world’s largest container ships. The aim is to attract more traffic from ports in the south of England to Liverpool, doubling Liverpool’s share of the UK container traffic market to 16%. Further expansion of the facility is now underway for opening in 2019.
The city benefits from an integrated commuter railway network, Merseyrail, which connects the city centre, suburbs, and the wider Merseyside and Wirral regions. New trains, arriving from 2019, will provide more capacity and faster journey times. There are plans to add new stations the first of which, Maghull North, will open shortly and where 370 new homes are being provided, with more planned.