Published Friday 1 December 2023 at 10:24
Residents and businesses are being urged to have their say in shaping the future of Lancashire.
Today a consultation has been launched into a devolution proposal which would create a new Combined County Authority for the region.
It comes after the Government offered a historic devolution deal to the county as part of Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement last week.
Leaders from Lancashire County, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool councils are now calling on people across the county to get involved and say what they think of the proposal.
The consultation, which will run for eight weeks until January 26, is a chance for residents, businesses and anyone else in the region to give their feedback on a number of important areas included in the proposal.
These include improving public transport, boosting economic prosperity, and improving employment and skills.
Views will also be sought on net zero and climate change, culture and tourism, and digital and cyber.
If the proposal is implemented, existing funding and powers will move from the Government in London to Lancashire.
The deal aims to give Lancashire a stronger voice on the regional and national stage, ensuring the county does not miss out on vital funding and other opportunities.
It would not require any changes to the established county, borough, or district councils across the area, who will continue to deliver services such as bin collections and local libraries.
It would also not require an elected mayor, as the CCA would be made up of existing elected councillors, or require an extra charge on council tax.
Councillor Phillippa Williamson, leader of the county council, said:
It is really important that everyone gets a chance to have their say on this hugely important proposal.
This is about shaping the future of Lancashire for many years to come, and ensuring we are able to make local decisions to benefit all who live and work here.
I truly believe the time is now for us to use this opportunity to secure more investment and deliver better outcomes for our local communities, but it is important everyone is able to contribute and give their view.
Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:
Lancashire is losing ground to other economies in the North West and it is now surrounded by combined authorities with devolution deals.
There is a need for change – and devolution provides that opportunity for change and to make sure our businesses and economy grow, directly benefiting the people we serve.
Devolution is a journey and not a one off event – Greater Manchester is on its 7th devolution deal.
There is no plan B other than to wait potentially years for another opportunity from another Government to come around, and continue to have decisions about important local issues being made in London.
Cllr Lynn Williams, Leader of Blackpool Council said:
It is critical that people have their say at this historic time for Blackpool and Lancashire.
This deal is important in terms of what it can bring now but also in the future. We will have much more control over adult skills and will be able to upskill our workforce. This in turn will affect our ability to attract inward investment and really make the most of it.
The competition for investment is not within Lancashire itself but other parts of the country and so we in Lancashire need to work together.
If devolution does not go ahead it is likely to mean Lancashire and therefore Blackpool could get left behind compared to other areas who benefit from devolution.
To take part in the consultation visit https://ipsos.uk/Lancashiredevolution
More information about the devolution deal can also be found at www.lancashiredevolution.co.uk.