Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire devolution deal rests on final approval from councillors

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Lincolnshire county councillors are set to vote on a proposed devolution deal tomorrow which would see significant powers transferred to the county from Westminster.

The Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal covering an area from the Humber to the Wash was announced by former Chancellor George Osborne in March 2016.

Ten councils are involved in the proposed deal: 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; North Lincolnshire Council and North East Lincolnshire Council.

Key points of the proposal include:

  • A new combined authority would receive £15 million a year, for the next 30 years, for infrastructure projects
  • Funding and responsibilities would include transport, housing, skills training and flood risk management
  • A directly elected mayor would lead the combined authority, with elections potentially taking place in 2017
  • All the councils would continue to exist in their current form

All 10 councils must approve the devolution deal before it can proceed.

Mayoral elections could in theory then take place in the first half of 2017.

Councils begin to approve deal

A number of councils across the Greater Lincolnshire region have approved the devolution deal in the last few weeks.

Below is a guide to the councils which have approved the deal:

  • City of Lincoln Council – unanimously approved
  • North Lincolnshire Council – approved
  • West Lindsey District Council – approved
  • East Lindsey District Council – approved
  • Boston Borough Council – approved
  • North Kesteven District Council – vote on October 19
  • North East Lincolnshire Council – vote on October 19
  • Lincolnshire County Council – vote on October 20
  • South Kesteven District Council – vote on October 24
  • South Holland District Council – vote on October 26

Councillor Peter Bedford, leader of Boston Borough Council, which has approved the plans, described the deal as “the only game in town”.

He said: “First of all, there has been a long and meticulous public consultation exercise about this. The public has indicated that it is broadly in agreement with devolution.

The only real sticking point was the requirement for a new combined authority to have an elected mayor. Some were concerned that this would be another needless level of bureaucracy that we can ill afford.

East Lindsey District Council leader, Councillor Craig Leyland, added: “The recent consultation supported the principle of joint working between the 10 councils and demonstrated the community’s support for East Lindsey to continue to pursue devolution powers from central government along with the associated funding.

“After careful consideration, the council agreed that we should be part of this exciting agenda which will also enable us to negotiate further devolution deals with government in the coming months that benefit the residents of East Lindsey.”

Read the thoughts of several leading politicians on the devolution and elected mayor proposals here.

Also, check out our all-you-need-to-know guide on the deal.