Grantham Journal column: A few minutes of your time could change our future
There’s only a few days left to have your say on plans that could change this area for years to come. The devolution consultation that has been running since June, is nearly at an end, but you can still take part.
It only takes a few minutes to fill in the survey online at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/greaterlincs, or to fill in a paper copy available in libraries and council access points. It’s also featured in our latest edition of County News, but hurry – we need to have all responses to us by 5pm on Monday 8 August.
Already more than 3,000 people have taken part to tell us what they think about the plans. So why is it so important? The 10 authorities in Greater Lincolnshire – the historic area stretching from the Humber to the Wash – have been offered a devolution deal by the Government.
It would transfer decision-making and funding for certain important public services from the Government to a new body called a Mayoral Combined Authority. Some of the areas we would have extra responsibilities for include transport, skills and training, housing and managing flood risk. This initial deal would bring an additional £450 million to the area over the next 30 years (£15 million per year).
Under the proposals, there would also be a Directly Elected Mayor chosen by the residents of Greater Lincolnshire.
The Mayor would chair the board of a new Combined Authority, which would also include councillors from the 10 councils. They would also co-ordinate the powers being transferred to our area, be locally accountable, and be able to champion Greater Lincolnshire across the country.
Under our plans, the budget of the Combined Authority would still be controlled by all 10 councils, and any decisions taken by the Mayor could be overturned if two thirds of the Combined Authority so wished. It’s these plans for a Combined Authority with a Mayor that we are asking for your views on.
Nothing will happen until you’ve had your say and the consultation ends. We need to know that any decisions we make reflect what you think. Currently the Government have said we can only have the deal we have negotiated if we have a directly elected Mayor. However, we’re speaking with ministers now a new Government is in place to see whether this still has to be the case going forward.
Thank you to all the people who have already made their views known, and I look forward to being able to let you know the results and next steps in the autumn.