Lancashire County Council has announced that the county is a step closer to a landmark devolution deal, with Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison signalling her support in principle.
Should the deal be approved, new money and power will be transferred to a newly created Combined Authority. This will then help the council to tackle local priorities easier, with the overarching goal of making Lancashire a better place to live, work, visit, study and invest.
The council has also stated that the deal would not force a change in the established democratic structures of the region and would not require an elected mayor.
Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackpool Council all met with government officials last month, with the purpose of discussing the possibility of a deal, as well as the potential of creating a combined county authority.
The potential new council would continue the collaborative work that has already been established in Lancashire, through the Lancashire 2050 framework. This framework is ensuring that all 15 councils in Lancashire are aligned over key regional issues. These issues include:
- Economic prosperity
- Skills and employment
- Transport and infrastructure
- Environment and climate
- Housing quality
Councillor Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said:
“This is a really important step forward and I am pleased that the government has faith in our vision for the future of our county.
“Together with leaders in Blackburn and Blackpool, as well as colleagues at the county’s district councils, I want to improve the life chances of every person who lives, works, and studies in Lancashire.
“We believe the best way to do this is to allow important decisions about Lancashire to be made right here in Lancashire.
“We know first-hand what problems we face as well as the huge potential our county has. We also know we have a great opportunity right now through devolution to bring in millions of extra pounds in investments and support which will ensure a better future for all.”
“I very much look forward to working on the business case with colleagues across the summer to ensure we get a great deal for Lancashire.”
Leader of Blackpool Council, Cllr Lynn Williams, added:
“I am pleased we are moving closer to a first devolution deal for Lancashire. Getting over the start line on devolution will allow us to access additional funding and support from national government and decide how this is used locally to tackle local issues and opportunities for the good of the people of Blackpool and Lancashire.
“We have shared priorities across Lancashire which are articulated in our 2050 vision. I look forward to further conversations with our partners in Lancashire and Government about how we can turn these shared priorities into reality and deliver more of the things our residents and businesses need.”