Huge numbers fail to take part in devolution survey

Angela Lawrence EMN-160929-112609001
Angela Lawrence EMN-160929-112609001

Only nine per cent of people in West Lindsey took part in the consultation on devolution in Lincolnshire.

The figure was revealed by West Lindsey District Council’s Caistor ward member Coun Angela Lawrence, who was speaking at the town’s monthly meeting.

Coun Lawrence, a former WLDC chairman, said that of those who did take part in the consultation there was a ‘consistent’ anti-mayor response.

And she told the meeting: “Very few people actually responded in the county.”

New powers and funding look set to be passed from the Government to the Greater Lincolnshire area as part of a devolution deal agreed with Whitehall by all 10 local authorities from the Humber to the Wash.

Although all the councils will continue to exist in their current form, they will also come together to form a ‘combined authority’ to exercise the new powers.

Like other areas with devolved powers, such as Sheffield and Manchester, the combined authority will also have its own directly elected mayor.

The funding and responsibilities will include transport, housing, skills training and flood risk management.

Further commitments are also agreed on health and social care, as well as court and prison services.

The aim is to ensure local accountability, making the new body answerable to the one million people in Greater Lincolnshire.

Each council has to formally agree the deal at its full council meeting, following consultation with residents throughout the summer.

The devolution arrangements could boost the area’s economy by £8bn, create 29,000 jobs and provide 100,000 new homes. The combined authority will receive £15m a year, for the next 30 years, for infrastructure projects to boost economic growth, and will have responsibility for a devolved and consolidated, multi-year local transport budget for the entire combined authority area.

The funding will be for new responsibilities and will not affect the current budget.

WLDC leader Jeff Summers said: “The devolution deal offered by the Government is very positive for West Lindsey. This will include a directly elected Mayor, to exercise the new powers.”