The Government has announced the potential for a historic devolution deal for Lancashire as part the Autumn Statement.
If given approval by Lancashire’s upper tier authorities, Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council, the proposed deal will transfer new money and powers from central government to a newly created Combined County Authority.
The proposed deal would give Lancashire extra powers to tackle key priorities such as better public transport, boosting economic prosperity and improving employment and skills.
It would also give the county a stronger voice on the regional and national stage, ensuring the county does not miss out on vital funding and opportunities. The intention is to ensure Lancashire is able to become the very best place possible to live, work, visit, study and invest.
Importantly, while a new Combined County Authority would be created, the deal would not require a change to the established county, borough or district councils across the area, and there would be no requirement for an elected mayor, nor the power to precept over and above the normal Council Tax ask.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove MP said, “I am delighted to agree this Level 2 devolution deal with Lancashire, which will bring more funding and powers out of Whitehall into the hands of communities in Lancashire.
"Lancashire has a long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship, which this deal will build on to unlock the economic potential of the whole area.”
Councillor Michael Vincent, Leader of Wyre Council said, “This is good news for Lancashire. The devolution of more powers and decision making from Whitehall to Lancashire is a positive step forward for the county.”
Under Government rules, only top-tier councils can be full voting members of a Combined County Authority. In Lancashire’s case, this would be Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackpool Council.
However, District Councils including Wyre will be engaged in the process and there is a commitment that they will have a voice in any new combined county authority.
The deal proposal will now be discussed by members of each constituent council at a series of council meetings. If all the councils agree, a public consultation will then be held so residents and businesses can have their say on the deal proposal. Each council will then consider the findings of the consultation before the final proposal is submitted to Government for Parliamentary approval next year.