November 8, 2019 1.45 pm This story is over 50 months old

County-wide ‘spokesperson’ could be considered under future devolution deal

But an elected mayor is out of the question

The leader of Lincolnshire County Council has said a county-wide “spokesperson” could be considered under a future devolution deal.

Councillor Martin Hill said an elected mayor for the region was unnecessary, but conceded that government seemed “determined” to have someone to liaise with.

The news follows the Secretary of State for Local Government, Robert Jernick’s, pledge yesterday to keep “options open” in devolution negotiations.

Councillors in Lincolnshire rejected a £450 million devolution deal in 2016 due over fears that a directly elected mayor would cause more bureaucracy.

Lincolnshire County Council chamber. Picture: Calvin Robinson.

But, Councillor Hill said he welcomed a commitment to devolved powers in the future, but reiterated that the county did not want a mayor.

He added that the county could select a single spokesperson from among the council leaders in the region to represent the authorities in discussions with central governemnt.

“At recent meetings it was clear all local partners are willing to work closely together to make joint decisions for the benefit of the people of Greater Lincolnshire,” he said.

“What does not seem necessary is to have a directly elected mayor with all the extra bureaucracy and cost the office entails.

“When asked, a mayoral proposal was not supported by our residents.

“But as government seems determined to have an individual to liaise with, we would be happy to have one spokesperson put forward to speak on behalf of us all.”

Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Local Government, and Karl McCartney. Picture: Connor Creaghan for The Lincolnite.

Last week, Councillor Hill called for a “genuine devolution deal” without an elected mayor.

Meanwhile, Mr Jenrick told The Lincolnite that he recognised that elected mayors were not always a fit in some areas.

“I appreciate that is not a model that works for all parts of the country,” he said.

“It can seem quite alien, so there will be options to embrace devolution and have more powers without a mayor.”

You can watch our interview with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Local Government, and Karl McCartney, Conservative candidate for Lincoln below.

Karl McCartney, Conservative candidate for Lincoln at the upcoming election, said that a mayor for Lincolnshire “might be the way forward” under a future devolution deal.

Mr McCartney said that he wanted to see the region benefit by having a “single figurehead”, as seen in London and Manchester.

Amid discussions over closer partnerships, council leaders across the region formed a new joint arrangement on “demand services” back in September.

North Lincolnshire Council leader, Rob Waltham, said after the announcement that the new partnership would also allow for the region to have “strong conversations” with government on funding.

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