Liverpool shines in Labour spotlight

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Ed Miliband in Liverpool © Trinity Mirror

Liverpool basked in the glorious autumn sunshine as the five-day Labour party conference brought more than 13,000 visitors and millions of pounds to the city this week.

Labour leader Ed Miliband told the party faithful that he was honoured to bring delegates to the city, saying in his keynote speech: “It’s great to be in Liverpool… today I come to Liverpool, proud to hold our conference in this great city.”

Labour’s main policy initiative was of particular interest to students, as Miliband announced a proposal to reduce the annual tuition fees cap down to £6,000 following the Coalition Government’s controversial rise up to £9,000 from 2012.

The last time the Labour Party brought its conference bandwagon to the shores of the Mersey back in 1925, ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘Mein Kampf’ were hitting the book shops, Stanley Baldwin occupied Number 10, and the Empire Theatre had just opened its doors to the public.

Fast forward 86 years and an entirely new Labour Party has come to appreciate the all-new, regenerated 21st Century Liverpool.

The city’s economic transformation has meant that Liverpool can now welcome another major conference, after hosting the Liberal Democrats this time last year.

That view is supported by West Derby MP Stephen Twigg, who told JMU Journalism: “Practical changes in the city, the arena, more hotel rooms, mean that Liverpool is now a venue capable of hosting these big events. It shows how part of the future for the Liverpool economy lies in hosting events like this.”

It is, perhaps, still surprising that Labour has been away from one of its major parliamentary strongholds for so long, and many visitors were said to be impressed by the city’s progress. Mr Twigg revealed that many people had commented to him on how much they were enjoying their visit, and he said: “Liverpool did itself proud.”

Two of Labour’s leading figures also visited Liverpool John Moores University – Ivan Lewis, the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Gordon Marsden, the Shadow Minister for Further Education and Skills.

They toured the LJMU Art & Design Academy and also took in the plans for the new £37.6m LJMU Redmonds building in Clarence Street, which will house Liverpool Screen School from next year.

Liverpool has also enjoyed the kind of national exposure that a city could usually only dream of, as the BBC and Sky, among others, broadcast flagship news programmes from the conference.

Joe Anderson, the leader of Liverpool City Council, estimated that the week has generated £20m in revenue, double the amount thought to have been brought in by the Lib Dem conference 12 months ago.

 

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