Combined authority plan back on track
PLANS to form a Lancashire Combined Authority may be back on track after the majority of the county’s council leaders agreed a way forward that could pave the way towards a devolution deal.
At the shadow combined authority meeting last week representatives from all 15 councils, including West Lancashire, heard how the Government was now willing to consider a devolution deal without a mayor.
A small number of councils had previously pulled out of negotiations, in part due to the requirement of an elected mayor.
But the latest development means that they may reconsider their position once they have more information.
The chair of the shadow combined authority, Cllr Simon Blackburn, said: “We held a very positive meeting with all 15 of the Lancashire councils and there was a commitment from everyone to see what a devolution deal without a mayor would look like.
“We all agreed that it is better for everyone in Lancashire if we work together and speak with one voice.
“We want to see more investment in our region benefitting the people of Lancashire providing better homes, more jobs and improvements to our infrastructure.”
The commitment to pursuing combined authority deals without a mayor was outlined in the Conservative party manifesto before this year’s general election.
The desire to see Lancashire councils working closer together was also outlined in a letter to Cllr Blackburn from Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry.
The minister followed that up during a recent visit to the county.
He spoke to Cllr Blackburn and said that a devolution deal without a mayor was very much on the table.
“It’s been a frustrating 10 months waiting for the Government to give us some clarity on which direction they want us to go but now we have an option that all the Lancashire councils could be willing to consider,” said Cllr Blackburn.