Important new powers and funding are to be passed from the Government to the Greater Lincolnshire area. A devolution deal document has been agreed with Whitehall by all 10 local authorities from the Humber to the Wash.
Although all the councils will continue to exist in their current form, they will also come together to form a “combined authority” to exercise the new powers. Like other areas with devolved powers, such as Sheffield and Manchester, the combined authority will also have its own directly elected mayor.
The funding and responsibilities will include transport, housing, skills training and flood risk management. Further commitments are also agreed on health and social care, as well as court and prison services. The aim is to ensure local accountability, making the new body answerable to the one million people in Greater Lincolnshire.
The ten local authorities involved are North Lincolnshire Council, South Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council, South Holland District Council, City of Lincoln Council, East Lindsey District Council, Boston Borough Council, North Kesteven District Council, North-East Lincolnshire Council and Lincolnshire County Council.
Each council will have to formally agree the deal at their full council, following consultation with residents in the summer.
The devolution arrangements could boost the area’s economy by £8bn, create 29,000 jobs and provide 100,000 new homes. The combined authority will receive £15m a year, for the next 30 years, for infrastructure projects to boost economic growth, and will have responsibility for a devolved and consolidated, multi-year local transport budget for the entire combined authority area.
The funding will only be for new responsibilities and will not affect the current budget proposals recently agreed by each council.
The Greater Lincolnshire bid also has the support of other public bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and the police. The Leader of West Lindsey District Council, Cllr Jeff Summers, said:
“The Devolution Deal offered by the Government is very positive for West Lindsey and Greater Lincolnshire.
“All councils in Greater Lincolnshire will continue to exist in their current form but we are committed to establishing a combined authority. This will include a directly elected Mayor, to exercise the new powers. A strategy for Lincolnshire will be decided by the ten Council Leaders.
“This cements our relationship with central government and will support economic growth in Lincolnshire including 100,000 new homes by 2036 plus the infrastructure to enable and support that growth.
“Individual Councils across Lincolnshire will be debating the proposals over the coming months, hopefully culminating in a unanimous vote to progress with this exciting project. Once the deal is finalised by the due process we will be continually looking to add further items to our devolution deal.
“A deal will unlock the ability to make more decisions locally and thereby prioritise more government funding to meet local need.”
The ten councils that will form the new Greater Lincolnshire combined authority are:
- North Lincolnshire Council
- North East Lincolnshire Council
- Lincolnshire County Council
- City of Lincoln Council
- North Kesteven District Council
- South Kesteven District Council
- West Lindsey District Council
- East Lindsey District Council
- Boston Borough Council
- South Holland District Council