Important new powers and funding are to be passed from the Government to the Greater Lincolnshire area. A devolution deal document has been 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.
The ten local authorities involved are North Lincolnshire Council, South Kesteven District Council, West Lindsey District Council, South Holland District Council, City of Lincoln Council, East Lindsey District Council, Boston Borough Council, North Kesteven District Council, North-East Lincolnshire Council and Lincolnshire County Council.
Each council will have to formally agree the deal at their full council, following consultation with residents in 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 only be for new responsibilities and will not affect the current budget proposals recently agreed by each council.
The Greater Lincolnshire bid also has the support of other public bodies such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and the police.