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24.02.17

Lancashire still pushing for devo deal despite two councils withdrawing support

Plans put forward for a devolution deal to join together 15 councils in Lancashire in a combined authority will still go ahead, despite two councils withdrawing their support.

All of Lancashire’s authorities besides Wyre had agreed to the deal which would see powers devolved to the region from Whitehall, until Wednesday when Fylde Borough Council also announced that they were sceptical about a proposed devolution deal.

A formal request is expected to be submitted to Parliament this summer regarding devolution for Lancashire.

Leader of Fylde Council, Sue Fazackerley said: “the leading Conservative group at Fylde regularly discusses the formation of a formal Lancashire Combined Authority and I have attended all meetings of the Shadow Combined Authority.

“Our MP and other Lancashire Conservatives have shared their views with the Conservative Group and, as further details emerge, the leading Group is unconvinced regarding the benefits for Fylde of progressing with membership of the Lancashire Combined Authority."

She added: “Fylde has always looked to work in partnership with neighbouring authorities, particularly on economic growth, transport and infrastructure that have a regional impact and we will continue to do so, regardless of whether we become a member of a Combined Authority or not. Of course, the final decision will be made by full council”.

Speaking of the deal, councillor Simon Blackburn Blackpool council leader and chairman of Lancashire’s shadow combined authority, said that he hoped that Fylde would change their mind on devolution for the region.

He said: “I think the combined authority and devolution deal are essential if we are going to be able to be serious about Lancashire being able to compete with the other major regions such as Manchester and Merseyside for investment.

“All the councils have been really supportive of the direction we are going but it’s inevitable that if the Government is delaying things that some people will start to question whether or not it’s going to happen” he added.

Fylde had previously rejected the deal after the council’s leader Susan Fazakerley had said the ruling Conservative group had concluded there was not enough to be gained for Fylde to want to be involved with the deal.

Speaking of Fylde’s decision, a government spokesperson had said that the council’s decision would make a mooted deal for the region harder to achieve.

The news comes after a number of figures from northern councils had called for devolution deals to strengthen the impact of the Northern Powerhouse this week.

The 15 councils who would form the Lancashire deal are:

Lancashire County Council

Blackpool Council

Blackburn with Darwen Council

Burnley Borough Council; Rossendale Borough Council

Hyndburn Borough Council

Pendle Borough Council

Fylde Borough Council

Chorley Council

Preston City Council

Ribble Valley Borough Council

West Lancashire Borough Council

Lancaster City Council

South Ribble Borough Council

Wyre Borough Council

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