Com­bined author­ity plan back on track

Ormskirk Advertiser - - News -

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.

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