November 1, 2019 3.43 pm This story is over 48 months old

County council leader wants ‘genuine devolution deal’ from next government

He said: “We don’t need a mayor”

Lincolnshire County Council’s leader has said he wants a “genuine devolution deal” from the next government.

Councillor Martin Hill said the authority wants to see proposals for devolved powers without a directly elected mayor following the election in December.

The government announced in its Queen Speech in October that it will publish a white paper on devolution which will be aimed at areas which have no powers.

But, Councillor Hill said that in the long-run the county would be better served without a mayor.

Lincolnshire County Council chamber. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

“We’re a big council, we represent nearly three-quarters of a million people,” he said.

“Talking to other partners in Greater Lincolnshire, I think we can just get on with it. We don’t need a mayor.

“Just give us the money and we will make decisions on behalf of the people that we represent.”

He added that the white paper had “many positives” but was concerned that it still included measures for elected mayors.

“I don’t really understand why you can’t just get on with the devolution without the directly elected mayor,” he said.

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

The region previously rejected a devolution deal in 2016, which included an elected mayor, over fears that it would’ have created more bureaucracy.

But, Councillor Hill said last year that there was “still an appetite” for devolution in the region without a mayor.

The government confirmed a white paper will be published with a focus on places that currently have no devolution powers.

Robert Jenrick, local government secretary, said at the Conservative party conference that the government was ready to work with any city or region over devolved powers.

“We stand ready now to negotiate productively with any city or region or indeed rural area that would like to take devolution forwards,” he told regional journalists last month.

Boston and Skegness MP, Matt Warman. Picture: Daniel Jaines.

Boston MP, Matt Warman, who was the architect behind informal devolution meetings between Lincolnshire council leaders and government, said previously that it “would be daft” not to look into another deal.

But, Councillor Hill has said the authority is already working with other regional councils, such as North and North East Lincolnshire, on a new partnership.

He added that, while it was “early days” on discussing a potential new devolution deal, the arrangement with neighbouring authorities would continue in the meantime.

“I think that we’re all of the view that rather than get wound up in discussions about structures and mayors, we will just try and deliver together better services for the people of Lincolnshire and take opportunities as they arise,” he said.

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