July 21, 2020 1.38 pm

No Lincolnshire devolution without a mayor, minister hints

Minister said detailed plans in autumn will establish more mayors

A government minister has hinted that Lincolnshire’s latest devolution bid could only come alongside a new mayor role, which was a deal breaker in previous discussions.

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney questioned the Minister of State for Growth and Local Government Simon Clark on the effective management of devolution during a debate in the House of Commons.

Mr Clark said he had recently had “constructive discussions” with MPs and council leaders and that it was now up to them to develop proposals.

“Levelling up all areas of the country by devolving money, resources and control from Westminster, is a priority for this government and our Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper, to be published this autumn, will set out our detailed plans, including for restructuring local institutions and establishing more mayors,” he said.

A previous bid for devolution was scrapped in 2016 after government insisted on the need for a directly-elected mayor to head the new body.

The latest proposals could see the formation of two unitary councils for Greater Lincolnshire – North and South – and would see Lincolnshire County Council, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and all the existing district councils abolished and disbanded.

Since the latest bid was made by the leaders of Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire councils, there has been a clash with district council leaders who have openly criticised the plans lack of engagement and consultation.

They have accused the new deal of being rushed and divisive discussion.

A previous bid for devolution was rejected in 2016 due to government not compromising over the mayoral requirement.

County and unitary leaders however, said the bid would ensure the Greater Lincolnshire region was “at the front of the queue to get this prize.”

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Greater Lincolnshire that we don’t want to lose out on.”

Publishing Mr Clark’s response to his Twitter profile, Mr McCartney said he was “excited for this new chapter for our county”.

“But it’s important that it delivers the benefits constituents have been promised,” he added.

ALSO READ: John Marriott: Greater Lincolnshire devolution? Yes, please!

Spotted an error? Please notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.