Second attempt to pass Boston & East Lindsey alliance

Boston Borough Councillors have been warned they could “hold back” the authority’s progress if they reject a strategic alliance with East Lindsey for a second time next week.

Chiefs are to put forward amended proposals next Thursday – just 14 days after it faced a six month delay and was withdrawn by borough leaders.

The Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman has, however, also thrown his weight in to the debate with an open letter to the council.

The agreement, which would have seen the authorities look to save £15.4million over 10 years by sharing their workforce, including a chief executive, was withdrawn by council leaders at the last minute on Wednesday after opposition members voted to delay it for more scrutiny.

ELDC’s Full Council approved the plans – but then Boston rejected them.

East Lindsey District Council had approved the plans by a majority vote just hours before.

Leaders later said they were “bitterly disappointed” with the outcome and they wanted a regulation at the “earliest opportunity”.

The documents before councillors include two new amendments which will create a new scrutiny committee to allow Boston’s councillors to “shadow the evolution of the point officer corps” and will allow the authority the opportunity to terminate the agreement after 12 months.

Documents before members state: “In the context of mounting budget pressures, the strategic alliance will allow the councils to deliver on their ambitions for local people and give them a stronger voice in any process to reshape local government in Lincolnshire.”

An open letter to the authority from MP Matt Warman on Thursday called on councillors to be non-partisan and said that “further delay serves nobody well”.

“Boston’s taxpayers deserve the best possible value for money and next week councillors will have the chance to back it.

“Not doing so, I believe, risks the long-term future of Boston as a sustainable council and holds back potential progress.”

The move comes as councils face pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including income losses, with ELDC’s latest budget looking for £7million extra.

Boston Borough Council’s cabinet was recently told that officers estimate that the cost to the authority in 2020/21 could be in the region of £1.75m.

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