North East Lincolnshire Council has agreed the next stages of the devolution process to transfer more power and resources from Whitehall back to local areas .
At its Annual General Meeting tonight (Thursday, May 26) members approved a report which outlined support for a public consultation on the rationale for the Greater Lincolnshire devolution agreement and options for governance.
As previously reported, North East Lincolnshire has agreed to join nine other council’s to form the Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority, to secure extra funding and powers from Whitehall.
The individual councils will continue to exist but will come together as a super authority to exercise new powers over regional transport, infrastructure and housing – answerable to an elected Mayor, who would be voted in by the region’s one million residents.
Now the public are going to be given the opportunity have their say on the proposals during a consultation which will begin by July 4. The results will accompany the governance proposals that will be submitted to the Secretary of State in late August.
All council leaders have agreed that the administration costs of setting up the mayoral combined authority will be kept to a minimum, using existing resources within their councils.
It is proposed that the paid Mayor will oversee a cabinet made up of one representative from each authority.
In the report approved by members tonight, it says: “The review finds that a Mayoral Combined Authority is the option which most fully permits for the effective discharge of the functions that Government is prepared to devolve to this area.
“A Mayoral Combined Authority will ensure a co-ordinated collaborative working with central government, through integration and effective strategic frameworks and delivery of investment plans.
“It will strengthen existing business partnership working through the Mayor being a member of the LEP.
“The Mayoral Combined Authority is the only governance arrangement that will permit implementation of the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution Agreement and further devolution deals that maybe agreed in the future.”
Forecasts have indicated that the devolution deal could help grow the region’s current £18 billion annual economy by £3.2 billion and create 13,000 new jobs, provide support to 22,000 businesses and build up to 100,000 new homes.
Cllr Ray Oxby, Leader of the Council, said: “We’re determined to secure the best deal for the people of North East Lincolnshire and being a key player in this devolution drive is vital to that.
“The deal reflects the high profile and economic potential of the area and gives us the powers, from Whitehall, to build on this significant opportunity, creating local choice for local people. It means key decisions about matters that affect the people of the Greater Lincolnshire area will be made in Greater Lincolnshire, by the people of Greater Lincolnshire.
“I believe the model we’ll be asking people to give their view on is not only the most pragmatic one, but it’s also the right one and I’m pleased members of the Council have supported the recommendations to take it forward to the next stage.’’