South Kesteven District Council’s Executive votes against plans for devolution with a mayor

South Kesteven District Council.
South Kesteven District Council.

The Executive of the district council has voted unanimously against devolution plans.

The Leader of South Kesteven District Council, Coun Bob Adams, proposed that members vote against plans for a Mayoral Combined Authority for Greater Lincolnshire.

Coun Bob Adams, Conservative leader of SKDC ENGEMN00120130424141642 ENGEMN00120130424141642

Coun Bob Adams, Conservative leader of SKDC ENGEMN00120130424141642 ENGEMN00120130424141642

Coun Adams recently voted in favour of a combined authority at an extraordinary meeting of the district council saying that he would like to see the council remain at the negotiating table. At that meeting a majority of councillors voted against a combined authority.

At this morning’s Executive meeting he said: “We have looked at this with an open mind and have listened to the arguments from the Government, the Department for Communities and Local Government and our own members, and in a sense we will still be involved as part of the shadow combined authority so we will still be getting an input as far as discussions are concerned.

“I will not call them negotiations because we have taken ourselves away from the negotiating table but we will be involved in listening to and, hopefully, taking part in discussions through the shadow combined authority.

“I think I can probably quote the Government on Brexit which says as you negotiate you do not declare your hand from day one. You go to the table, you talk, you listen and form your judgements and that is what we have done.”

Many councillors who voted against the devolution plans said they were against the position of a mayor.

Ten local authorities from the Humber to the Wash have been asked to devolve some powers, responsibilities and funding from Government to Greater Lincolnshire.

If enough councils sign up to this, a Mayoral Combined Authority would be established.

The authority would be made up of elected councillors from the 10 councils and a representative from the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The authority would be chaired by the mayor, chosen by residents. The combined authority would not replace existing councils or affect the services they already provide. It would only be responsible for the new powers and funding devolved from central Government, which include transport, housing, skills-training and flood risk management.

Many of those against a mayor in the set-up say that he or she would only be accountable to central government and not the member councils of the combined authority.