April 5, 2019 4.03 pm This story is over 29 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: Brexit chaos smothers local plans

Local issues have taken a backseat as Brexit rumbles on

It seems a long time ago since Lincolnshire was on the verge of clawing back powers from Westminster and making the case for more funding for adult care. But then Brexit happened.

In 2016, councillors in the north and south of the county came together to discuss how the region could make decisions for itself in a devolution bid.

It would have been a lucrative deal worth £450 million over three decades and would have seen transport and planning powers brought back to a local level.

Around the same time, people were also discussing how best to fund the adult care system for the future.

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That all seems a long time ago, but it’s only because all the country’s political energy has been focused on Brexit, pushing those issues down the agenda.

For the past 12 months, Lincolnshire has revisited the devolution question and lobbied for clarity on adult care funding.

Greater Lincolnshire council leaders launched the bid for devolved powers and funding in September 2015. Photo: Stuart Wilde

County council leader, Martin Hill, revealed in May 2018 that authority leaders across the region were again discussing the possibility of taking back powers from Whitehall after rejecting the first deal.

However, those talks have stalled and no progress has been made.

All of this has happened while the government has delayed their own plans for adult care funding four times.

Local authorities are already looking at their finance books and wondering where the money will come from to pay for the system after 2020.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill

Councillor Hill described how the government’s “obsession with Brexit”is leaving council plans gathering dust.

The county council leader, who is pro-Brexit and as Grantham Conservatives Vice President clashed with Nick Boles over the MP’s views on a no-deal scenario, called on the House of Commons to find a resolution to current deadlock.

The vote to leave the European Union is the biggest political decision in over five decades.

However, it should not leave issues that affect people on a daily basis hovering in limbo.

People still need transport, homes and care for their loved ones now, and they will after Brexit too.

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