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Manchester And Liverpool To Merge?

Larry Neild ponders a marriage along the Mersey

Written by . Published on February 27th 2014.

Manchester And Liverpool To Merge?

THEY are separated by a de-militarised zone known as the East Lancs Road. In a Battle of Edge Hill they’d build barricades with cobbles at both ends. In a word, Liverpool and Manchester are rivals. 

And while the prospects of Liverpudlian and Mancunian politicians happily sharing the power base may seem as likely as the Ship Canal freezing over, the prospects of us all becoming Manpolitans makes economic sense, say promoters of the idea.

The rivalry goes back a long way – in the American Civil War, Liverpool stuck up for the Confederates. Manchester sided with the Yankees, and has the statue to prove it. 

So a suggestion from an economic guru will come as a shock – Manchester and Liverpool should merge. ‘Manpool’, with a population approaching 6m, would be big and powerful enough to compete with London and other mega cities around the world. 

The idea comes as Liverpool and its five neighbours suffer a bout of tunnel vision over the name for a new super authority to fly for the flag for the Liverpool City Region. 

Instead of simply using a world-brand name such as, err, Liverpool, the Mersey cousins want to be known as Haltonknowsleyliverpoolseftonst

And while the prospects of Liverpudlian and Mancunian politicians happily sharing the power base may seem as likely as the Ship Canal freezing over, the prospects of us all becoming Manpolitans makes economic sense, say promoters of the idea.  The notion of a mega city stretching from the Mersey to the Irwell emerged at a conference in Manchester, organised by the City Growth Commission. 

The commission, chaired by macro-economist Jim O’Neill, is an independent inquiry aimed at trying to boost urban growth in the UK’s major cities. It is running for just 12 months and plans to publish recommendations in October to influence the political debate in the build-up to the 2015 General Election. 

The Manchester pow-wow was the first hearing during which evidence is being sought at gatherings in a number of cities around the country.  

O’Neill, who came up with the acronym BRIC to highlight the fast emerging world economics of Brazil, Russia, India and China, has devoted more than three decades examining the changing state of the world’s economies. Now he has turned his attention to how economic growth in the UK can be boosted. 



London and the South East dominate the UK’s economic performance, whereas in China, Germany and the US, large urban areas help fuel their economic strengths. 

The City Growth Commission believes if more urban areas showed stronger growth, it would help boost the national economy’s rate of growth. The answer could be concentrating efforts on 15 of the largest metro regions, based on the reality from around the world showing the biggest urban areas matter most when it comes to unleashing a step-change in economic activity. 

In that respect Greater Manchester just isn’t big enough, prompting O’Neill to pose the prospect at the Manchester hearing of thinking the unthinkable: the notion of ‘Man Pool’, where Liverpool and Manchester bring together their populations and resources to create a metropolis in the north. 

It is easy to see where O’Neill is coming from when metro areas across the world are examined. Even London with its 14m inhabitants ranks only 18th place, Tokyo topping the league table with around 33m people. 

Britain’s second biggest metro sprawl, Birmingham, with about 2.7m, just a 100k more than Manchester, is virtually a village compared to dozens of metro city areas around the world. 

Is the idea of mega city regions in the UK is a step too far, even though it makes economic sense? Who would be at the helm? Joe Anderson or Sir Richard Leese? 

Maybe there's an alternative suggestion. How about reviving the NWDA (North West Development Agency)?

Manpool EastManpool East

Manpool WestManpool West

Skyline over the city

Skyline over the city

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27 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2014.

Would be very interesting to hear Terry Christian's opinion on this? Oh no it wouldn't BBC!!!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidFebruary 27th 2014.

What's up your arse? I heard Terry talking about this on Radio 4 yesterday and thought he was very funny and represented us well.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2014.

He is the "sneering" London media's favourite Mancunian. Cocky & inarticulate, they just so love him!

paulsouthernMarch 1st 2014.

If you listened to Terry Christian on R4 talking about this issue, and indeed other interviews where he is asked reasonable questions, you would see he is far from inarticulate. As for cocky good for him.

GimboidMarch 1st 2014.

Sadly I think Anonymous heard the same R4 interview we did, but didn't actually understand Terry's contribution.

David in CheshireFebruary 27th 2014.

Manpolitans? Manpoolitans, Shirley. What about us Warringtonians, then? Squeezed middle, perhaps?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Ghostly TomFebruary 27th 2014.

East Warrington is a suburb of Manchester, west Warrington is a suburb of Liverpool. The Iron Curtain is along the A49/bridge Street axis...

David in CheshireMarch 4th 2014.

I don't disagree with the cultural connections, but there's no political connection. We're neither part of Merseyside nor Greater Manchester.

Matt WhiteleyFebruary 27th 2014.

I reckon we have far more in common, and far more to gain, by association with Leeds than our work-shy friends up the East Lancs...

Ghostly TomFebruary 27th 2014.

Culturally and historically no... But it does make a great deal of sense to work together to pull in the economic benefits and clout of being a much larger city on the world stage. Fly in at night and it does look like one city already. Might be a leap too far at the moment. We need to bring Greater Manchester together under one authority and one charismatic leader to fight our corner first before a merger with our friends up the East Lancs. And possibly Leeds would be a better match, we seem to share a similar out look on the world and determination to succeed.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark FullerFebruary 27th 2014.

Why not not bring Manchester,Liverpool and all their respective satellite town under a single authority? I would call that authority South Lancashire.

Ghostly TomFebruary 27th 2014.

But it needs a name that is recognisable to world over. Investors in China, America won't know about south Lancashire but they do know about Manchester. Try asking someone from London where Wigan or Warrington is...blank looks, mention Manchester and at least you get a flicker of recognition...

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2014.

Ok, lets Call this Greater Manchester Authority, the Greater Manchester Council, stick it in Westminster House in Piccadilly, and have it led by Sir Richard. Simples

SquirrelitoFebruary 27th 2014.

Step one, abolish Trafford, Salford, Tameside etc and have one City of Manchester like Brum or Leeds, (or rebrand them as "Manchester Borough of....." a la London.) before we contemplate taking over Self-pity City

SquirrelitoFebruary 27th 2014.

You could merge us all the way to Chicago, there'd still be some old Salford hands going "We were a city first"

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2014.

Will Alsop had a similar idea in 2004 with Coast to Coast - See news.bbc.co.uk/…/4187409.stm…

AnonymousFebruary 27th 2014.

Let's leave things as they are. Any change will mean the usual mass recruitment of all sorts of 'strategic' staff and liaison 'officers' all on the council tax. And probably a shiny, new, over budget HQ too.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 27th 2014.

Yeah, doing things strategically is shit.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2014.

Sir Richards Ego would be flying high right now at the suggestion of him being leader of this massive authority!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidFebruary 28th 2014.

Which no-one has suggested. Bore off.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2014.

Wow that's a bit troll-like.

AnonymousFebruary 28th 2014.

It can't have its HQ in Manchester or Liverpool as it won't be neutral so what about somewhere smack in the middle, Warrington or Wigan perhaps?? They even have an old disused NWDA building they could use!!

Jim SymcoxFebruary 28th 2014.

I don't see why the HQ has to be in a neutral zone. Also what's the problem with calling the whole thing Manchester? we know MUFC is a recognised brand all over the world. So wouldn't it make sense to use that world-wide awareness? Rebranding a major city is simply stupid. Outside the UK nobody will know what we're talking about when we use the new name and could be forgiven for assuming it's a small town they've never heard of.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 28th 2014.

"Rebranding a major city is simply stupid." "What's the problem with calling the whole thing Manchester? " What.

Ghostly TomMarch 2nd 2014.

Manchester is the brand name that people the world over recognise still even if it's only in connection with a certain struggling football team. But seriously, Manchester is the only major city in the UK (excluding the usual tourist spots like Edinburgh and York) that people abroad have some concept of. It would be foolish to change the name.

AnonymousMarch 2nd 2014.

I think we're getting a bit hung up on the idea that anywhere would have its name changed. Obviously that would not happen, the suggestion is about combined strategy and administration to promote economic growth. Get a grip people.

Poster BoyMarch 4th 2014.

Northern Gateways, The Northern Way. We have been here before.

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