View of Burnley, Lancashire from the hills above

Lancashire devolution supported

Lancashire County Council has announced that support for a historic devolution deal has been shown through a public consultation.

Over the course of the eight-week consultation residents and businesses were asked for their views on a potential deal which, if introduced, would transfer funding and power from central government and to a new Lancashire Combined County Authority. Similar deals are in place in surrounding regions, including North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester.

By transferring power to local leaders, local voices will have a more prominent role in the way that decisions are made for their communities, whilst also making it easier to secure more investment and improve the chances of positive outcomes for Lancashire. Existing councils would not be merged or removed through this process, however.

Almost 2,000 responses were received, with 186 coming from businesses and representative groups that support the deal. Positive comments included the fact that these proposals are a positive first step to devolution, whilst some concerns centred around delivery arrangements.

Lancashire devolution quote

Leader of Lancashire County Council Phillippa Williamson commented:

 "The findings from this consultation make it clear that there is a strong appetite for devolution in Lancashire.

"We have had a significant amount of positive feedback, with respondents making it clear that they too believe the time is now for us to take this opportunity to improve people's lives.

"We are hugely ambitious for our county and believe devolution will unlock so many more opportunities for our businesses and residents. 

"I would like to thank all those who took the time to take part and reassure everyone that we have carefully considered all the comments made and adjusted the proposal document accordingly."

The proposal focuses on eight priorities for Lancashire, which are:

  • Innovation, Trade, and Investment
  • Skills
  • Transport
  • Net Zero and Climate Change
  • Digital and Cyber
  • Culture and Tourism
  • Housing and Land
  • Delivering Our Ambitions

Councillor Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council Leader, added:

 “I want to thank everyone who took the time to have their say in the online consultation or who came to one of our events.

“There is a need for change – and devolution provides that opportunity and to make sure Lancashire businesses and the economy grow, directly benefiting the people we serve.

Lancashire is losing ground to other economies in the North West and is now surrounded by combined authorities with devolution deals, so I am pleased the consultation showed strong support and appetite for the deal.”  

Members of Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council, and Blackpool Council will discuss the results of the consultation, with agreements to proceed bringing about the next step on the road to more local control. This next step would be to present the findings to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities for him to consider putting the establishment of a new combined authority to Parliament.


Image credit: iStock


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