Lincoln
September 23, 2020 12.12 pm

“No loss of appetite” for Lincolnshire devolution

It’s not going away any time soon

Lincolnshire County Council leaders have said there will be “no loss of appetite” for devolution.

Members of Lincolnshire County Council voted by a majority in favour of a motion which aimed to reaffirm the authority’s commitment to local reorganisation.

Conservative Leader of the Council Martin Hill said: “Greater Lincolnshire, not just this council, is actually very keen to be preserved as a distinct identity.

“In the national scene, we’re also keen to actually progress with more devolution and take advantage of the opportunities which the government has offered.

“There is prospect of extra funding for this area, but also… it’s pretty clear that like some of the other areas which have mayors… then you are considered to be more in the more in the sight of government.”

He added: “It is important that we actually reaffirm our commitment to devolution and in the situation as we currently understand it, because whatever happens I don’t think there will be any loss of appetite in Lincolnshire to one day get to devolution.”

Lincolnshire’s leaders have recently butted heads over devolution.

Opposition councillors admitted devolution was “inevitable” but say the current plans are the “best of a bad deal” and should be put on hold during the pandemic.

They questioned a recent silence from government since the resignation of MP Simon Clarke and queried why resources were being spent on devolution when the focus, they said, should be concentrated on “matters of urgency” such as COVID-19.

Labour Councillor Robin Renshaw initially accused the motion of containing “mistruths” but later accepted that was wrong and instead called them “mistakes”.

He pointed to previous statements by the leaders of district councils, who were initially unaware of moves by the upper tier authorities in Greater Lincolnshire to restart devolution talks, calling for the current plans to be halted after they were not consulted.

He added the “precarious” financial situation the region found itself in was down to government in the first place.

However, he said: “Although we will be against it, it is the best of a bad deal and it’s inevitable as the government’s got the numbers of MPs to do to push it through.”

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