Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed that Lincolnshire will get a directly elected mayor as part of his devolution deal.
In his Budget delivered just now, the Chancellor revealed that the Greater Lincolnshire region from the Humber to the Wash will have an elected mayor, as will East Anglia and the West of England.
The funding and responsibilities will include transport, housing, skills training and flood risk management.
Further commitments are also agreed on health and social care, as well as court and prison services.
Although all the councils will continue to exist in their current form, they will also come together to form a “combined authority” to exercise the new powers.
The combined authority will receive £15 million a year, for the next 30 years, for infrastructure projects to boost economic growth, and will have responsibility for a devolved and consolidated, multi-year local transport budget for the entire combined authority area.
Funding will only be for new responsibilities and will not affect the current budget proposals recently agreed by each council.
The 10 local authorities involved are North Lincolnshire Council, South Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council, South Holland District Council, City of Lincoln Council, East Lindsey District Council, Boston Borough Council, North Kesteven District Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and Lincolnshire County Council.
Each council will have to formally agree the deal at their full council, following consultation with residents in the summer.
Councillor Liz Redfern, leader of North Lincolnshire Council and spokesperson for Devolution Governance, said: “This deal will put the ‘Great’ back into Lincolnshire, where all councils will work together to benefit the region. This means more business opportunities, more jobs, investment, new homes and so on.
“The new Greater Lincolnshire combined authority will give us a platform to decide what is best for our region. After all, between the 10 councils, we have that local knowledge needed to help decide what our area needs and we will be able to deliver with confidence.
“There will be less bureaucracy, decisions will be made much faster and it will unite the wider Lincolnshire area.
“Combined, we will be a much bigger force, with greater powers to deliver what’s needed locally.”
Councillor Richard Davies, Executive Member for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council, described the deal as “a missed opportunity.”
“It’s a missed opportunity to really reform local government and reduce bureaucracy, but a step forward for the county nonetheless.”
“The added cash investment has to be viewed in conjunction with two additional layers of red tape, therefore while welcome, falls far short of what Lincolnshire really needs to grow and prosper.”
But Councillor Mike Gallagher, Deputy Leader of North Kesteven District Council, strongly supported the deal.
He said: “The devolution deal announced today provides a great opportunity for North Kesteven. Decisions related to the local economy, housing and local public services will be taken closer to people and communities: we believe that local communities have a clearer vision and understanding of local circumstances, need and priorities.
“With extra funding, and new decision making powers, this devolution deal will enable us to move more swiftly on initiatives for growth, investment, economic development, skills development and infrastructure improvements to the benefit of our residents.”
Some of the region’s MPs and councillors have been reacting to the announcement via social media.
Gtr Lincolnshire to have Directly Elected Mayor: wonder if parochial, or will see sense & build dualled Eastern Bypass & Southern Relief Rd?
— Karl McCartney (@karlmccartney) March 16, 2016
Delighted to hear the Chancellor confirm a new devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire including an elected Mayor #Budget2016
— Matt Warman MP (@mattwarman) March 16, 2016
Great news. Chancellor announces new powers and elected mayor for Greater Lincolnshire. More power and more resources to spend locally
— Martin Vickers (@martinvickersmp) March 16, 2016
Devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire essential to create the progressive & economically strong area we all know can be achieved.
— Colin Davie (@ColinDavie1) March 16, 2016
Other people have not been as positive about the deal.
Elected mayor for a greater Lincolnshire- this is not what Lincs needs- but if we have it lets get it working for the residents!!
— Ross Pepper (@RossDPepper) March 16, 2016
Osborne announces he's devolving blame for his cuts to a Greater Lincolnshire Authority. #Budget2016
— phil dilks (@fairdealphil) March 16, 2016
An elected mayor for Lincolnshire. Because that's worked so well for the police. Sigh.
— Too Good To Go Down (@TooGoodToGoDown) March 16, 2016
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