Lancashire Devolution Newsletter6th of December, 2023
In February 2022, the Government published its White Paper on Levelling Up, a significant set of proposals which look to address geographical disparities in funding, productivity and growth across England.
Following the publication of the White Paper, the three upper tier Councils, Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council, agreed to cooperate at pace on the creation of a new devolution deal that would cover the Lancashire area by establishing a Combined County Authority (CCA). The Leaders of the three Councils have overseen extensive negotiations between Officers and Government officials to agree the basis of a proposed devolution deal.
On the 22 November the Government announced that it was willing to enter into a devolution deal with Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.
Meetings held during the last week of November at the three upper tier authorities unanimously supported the draft proposal go out to public consultation.
The deal, if given final approval, will transfer new money and powers from central government to a newly created CCA, allowing it to tackle key local priorities.
1. better local transport
2. supporting businesses
3. encouraging growth
4. improving skills, housing and living standards
5. tackling 'net zero' on climate change
The deal aims to give Lancashire a stronger voice on the regional and national stage, ensuring the county does not miss out on vital funding and other opportunities.
It would not require any changes to the established county, borough or district councils across the area, who will continue to deliver services such as bin collections and local libraries.
It would also not require an elected mayor, as the CCA would be made up of existing elected councillors, and would not require an extra charge on council tax.
A public consultation has now been launched into the devolution proposal which is open to anyone who lives or works in Lancashire.
The consultation, which will run for eight weeks until 26 January 2024, is also open for businesses, organisations and other interested parties to give their feedback.
A new website has also been launched where you can find out more about the deal and what it could mean for Lancashire, its residents and businesses. Visit www.lancashiredevolution.co.uk.
The image shows the Levelling Up Minister Jacob Young, with council leaders Phil Riley, Phillippa Williamson and Lynn Williams, left to right, at a special deal signing ceremony at Lancaster Castle.