Latest Public Sector News

01.07.16

Plans continue for Solent Combined Authority, despite Hampshire CC refusing to join

The Isle of Wight could join with Portsmouth and Southampton to form the latest devolved body in the country, with a deal worth an estimated £900m.

The Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council, together with the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will consider a governance review arguing in favour of creating a Solent Combined Authority at their next meeting.

The review will be submitted to Portsmouth’s Cabinet on 8 July, the Isle of Wight’s executive on 14 July and the whole of Southampton’s council on 20 July.

Cllr Jonathan Bacon, leader of the Isle of Wight council, said that the deal was important to allow the Isle of Wight to “remain at the table” after Greg Clark, the communities and local government secretary, confirmed that the island will not otherwise receive any extra funding before 2020.

The deal will give Solent Mayoral Combined Authority £30m a year for the next 30 years, and control of areas including transport, job creation, increasing business productivity and aligning adult education to local needs.

The councils also said they would like to seek devolution of further powers such as health care, which has already been granted to Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Hampshire County Council was also invited to form part of the deal but refused.

Cllr Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council said: “We have been clear all along that a deal to devolve powers, funding and decision-making from central government to the local area is in the best interests of businesses and people living in Southampton and the wider region.

“We are disappointed that despite our best efforts to persuade them, Hampshire County Council will not sign up and support our bid to double the size of the regional economy. However, even without their support, and subject to the Governance Review and the Cabinet’s approval, we will continue to proceed with our plans for a Combined Authority and secure a more prosperous future for the people of this city.”

A Public Accounts Committee report, published today, warned that the devolution process is suffering from a lack of accountability and contingency planning.

Devolution deals are at various stages across the UK. Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire announced today that their devolution deal will be put forward for public consultation, but Norwich and Breckland councils voted to reject one of the East Anglia deals on offer.

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