Blackpool, Central Pier

Election stalls devolution deal

Lancashire County Council has confirmed that last week’s General Election announcement has stalled the finalising of its devolution deal.

The government announced in November 2023 that it would be willing to enter into a deal to bring devolution to the county, with this bringing together Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council, and Blackburn with Darwen Council. Once finally approved, the deal would allow the new Combined County Authority to hold more power, whilst also injecting further investment.

This deal, however, has been stalled by the calling of a General Election, which will be held on the 4th July. In a statement, the three leaders of the respective councils backed up their desire for devolution, and how finalising the deal would be a case for the incoming government. The statement read:

“We remain committed to securing a devolution deal for Lancashire.

“We are convinced this is a good deal for Lancashire and one that builds the foundation for additional deals in the future. We believe the transfer of powers from central government to Lancashire is in the best interests of residents and businesses…

“… The timing of a General Election means we will not be able to finalise our deal as soon as we would have wished. However we will continue to work together and be ready to conclude this with the new government when it is formed in July as we believe this remains a great opportunity for our county.”

Councillor Phillippa Williamson (Lancashire County Council Leader), Cllr Phil Riley (Blackburn with Darwen Council Leader), and Cllr Lynn Williams (Blackpool Council Leader) also spoke about how the devolution deal will allow businesses across Lancashire to make their voices heard as the new combined authority develops. The leaders added:

“We strongly believe the voice of businesses in Lancashire is crucial in making sure our devolution deal focuses on the right issues.

“As Leaders we are committing to establishing a new board of Lancashire business leaders, representing the wider range of sectors and places across the county.

“One of their first tasks will be to help set Lancashire's economic strategy, ensuring investment in infrastructure, skills and business support is targeted in a way that supports our wider ambitions.”

 

Image credit: iStock

Video credit: Lancashire County Council

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