Lincolnshire councils to vote on joint devolution committee

The 10 Lincolnshire councils that have combined forces for an “ambitious” devolution proposal will consider creating a joint committee to oversee the next stages in the application.

As previously reported, the Greater Lincolnshire authorities submitted a bid for a multi-million pound devolution settlement on September 4.

The councils involved in the application include all seven Lincolnshire district councils, Lincolnshire County Council, plus North and North East Lincolnshire Council.

The proposals could see the county receive more powers and responsibilities in a similar devolution settlement to Greater Manchester last year.

Councillors behind the project have claimed that the settlement would grow the value of the Greater Lincolnshire economy by £8 billion, creating 29,000 new jobs in the process.

Some of the specific powers sought include:

  • The transfer of the commissioning of prison services to local political control
  • Powers to apply a discounted fuel duty scheme to support transport in rural areas
  • Amendment to the Highways England programme to invest in transport routes in the region
  • Decision-making for local school funding and power to reshape and re-structure Further Education provision
  • Enhanced powers for councils in regards to housing, to deliver 100,000 new homes across the region
  • Tax incentives for agri-food businesses and the steel industry
  • Devolution of the range of commissioning resources that support the health and wellbeing including the resources of Public Health England, NHS England and Health Education England
Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council. Photo: Stuart Wilde

Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council. Photo: Stuart Wilde

Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council and political spokesperson for governance in the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution Proposals, said that a joint committee of the local authorities could be established for the next stage of the devolution programme.

She said: “The remit of this joint committee will be to have oversight of the continuing discussions with government, develop the governance arrangements and to operate as the “Greater Lincolnshire Leadership Board” – leading the accelerated growth agenda, in partnership with the LEPs.

“This rightly has to be discussed by all 10 councils so a paper proposing that a governance review be conducted to determine the best governance arrangements to implement devolved powers from government is being taken to council meetings in each authority between now and Christmas.”

Since the bid was submitted, representatives from Greater Lincolnshire have met the Minister of State for Local Government, Marcus Jones MP, to press their case more forcefully.

Baroness Redfern added: “The minister welcomed the scale of the area’s ambitions, indicated the government’s intent to pursue such a deal and invited further purposeful negotiations to bring it about.

“Since then work has continued looking at the specific themes in the proposal, holding discussions with civil servants from relevant government departments and looking at arrangements that need to be in place if we are able to proceed with our ambitious plans.

“These governance reviews will take place in the new year whilst discussion with government on a possible devolution deal continues.”

North Lincolnshire Council will be the first authority to consider the governance proposals on November 10, with Lincolnshire County Council the last to decide on December 18.

If the bid is successful, powers could start to be devolved from as early as 2017.

Click here to read the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution Proposal in full.