Rossendale Free Press
Leaders aim to line up £5.6bn devolution deal
LANCASHIRE is poised to ask the government to pump £5.6bn into the county as part of a long-awaited devolution bid.
Council leaders have made a historic pledge to work together to deliver a bold vision for a County Deal to benefit the people of Lancashire.
For months, all 15 constituent council leaders – including Rossendale’s – have been working in close collaboration to develop a set of ambitious and forward-thinking proposals. If
adopted they would represent a New Deal for a Greater Lancashire across a range of areas including the economy, transport, jobs, skills and the environment.
Lancashire County Council, the 12 district councils, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council are to consider setting up a new formal body to help drive cooperation to the next level to help secure a deal with government.
In July 2021, as part of its levelling up plans, the government announced it would introduce County Deals as part of its devolution plans, with the aim of transferring powers from Whitehall to local areas.
Lancashire County Council leader Councillor Phillippa Williamson said: “This is a bold and exciting step towards a New Deal for Lancashire that will benefit every part of the county.
“It’s in the interests of all our residents to work together for a New Deal for a Greater Lancashire which will bring with it additional powers, decision-making, and significant additional funding.”
Council leader Alyson Barnes addressed the issue at last month’s Rossendale full council meeting.
She said the idea was to emulate Greater Manchester and Liverpool in looking to get funding into Lancashire.
Coun Barnes said: “We’ve been working together as 15 councils for many years. I’m really pleased that we are on the brink of some sort of agreement. It’s about major issues like town centre regeneration, housing, transport, early years’ support for families and improving our environment no longer being taken in Whitehall, but being taken locally. It’s early days in the development of the deal, but the early signs of the size of the prize locally are really interesting.”
All 15 councils that comprise Greater Lancashire will discuss these proposals at full council meetings in the coming weeks, where they will be asked to agree a joint report.