“Ambitious” devolution plans proposed for Lincolnshire

Outline plans for a radical new devolution settlement for Greater Lincolnshire, which would see significant powers transferred to the county from Westminster, will be submitted to central government later this week.

Lincolnshire County Council, working with other local authorities in the Greater Lincolnshire area, have developed proposals which could see the county receive more powers and responsibilities in a similar devolution settlement to Greater Manchester last year.

The agreement could see Greater Lincolnshire take further control of its policing, how schools and healthcare services are funded, and its role in future major highways schemes.

The suggested new settlement would likely see a separate combined authority created for Lincolnshire, including councils from the greater Lincolnshire area, which would be responsible for the joint powers devolved from central government.

Other partners such as the Local Enterprise Partnership, Lincolnshire Police and healthcare providers have also been consulted, and would play a role in any future partnership.

A bid will be submitted to central government by the deadline of Friday, September 4.

Following this, negotiations will take place to decide on the exact powers, if any, that are to be devolved to the county.

If approved, the new structure could be in place by as early as April 2017.

Lincolnshire County Council Leader Martin Hill. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire County Council Leader Martin Hill. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Martin Hill, insisted that this bid would not see the break-up of the district councils to create a single unitary authority.

He said: “This bid is about devolving powers from government, not taking powers off each other.

“We have been very ambitious in our bid, more so than many other areas, and we hope that ministers look on that favourably.

“The new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, made it very clear that he was supportive of devolving powers currently held by central government to local areas.

“We’ve been very keen to follow this agenda as we believe we can run services more efficiently and also decisions that affect Lincolnshire should be made in Lincolnshire rather than in London.

“Surely we know better how to run our own services than some civil servant in Whitehall who probably doesn’t realise the size and scale of the county?

“Hopefully there will be an agreement and we can have control over our own destiny.”