Views sought on Combined Authority for Lancashire

8 January 2016

Residents and businesses are being urged to take part in a countywide consultation asking whether people support the proposal for a Lancashire Combined Authority.

Councils across the county have given the go-ahead to gauge public opinion and everyone is being encouraged to have their say.

Councillors have labelled the move a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring Lancashire together and make sure it is a key part of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, who is Chair of the Council Leaders’ Group on Combined Authority matters, said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the authorities in Lancashire to work together and bring more investment and jobs into the area and make sure we don’t get left behind.

“It is a chance for us to take on some of the powers from Central Government and ensure that we have a bigger influence on what happens in our proud county.

“I’d describe it a bit like the Lancashire pie – at the moment all the councils have a slice of the Lancashire pie and what a Combined Authority would do is give us the chance to make that pie bigger so we all get a bigger slice.”

Combined authorities give councils a stronger voice to influence Central Government and draw down more powers, functions and funding to benefit the area and let locally elected people drive change.

They are not about local government reorganisation and would not result in the creation of a ‘super council’ or local authorities merging.

Each council would still be responsible for the services it provides e.g. bin collections, highways, education.

“I know for some people it might seem like this is just another layer of bureaucracy and why should we bother taking part but we’ve got to change the way we do things and I believe a Combined Authority would make savings and bring enormous benefits,” said Councillor Bradley.

“I’d urge people to take the time to find out a bit more and tell us what they think because the feedback we receive will guide whether we go ahead with this proposal and we welcome any ideas and suggestions.

“People will be able to find out more information and take part in the survey on their local council website and hard copies of the information will be available in council offices and libraries. You can also join the debate online using the #LancsCA.”

The services a Combined Authority would include are transport, economic development, housing and regeneration.

Every local council in Lancashire, except Wyre Council, has agreed to support the consultation, which starts on Monday 11 January and will run until Friday 19 February.

Pic caption: Leaders of all the Lancashire Councils taking part in the consultation
Back row (L-R) Councillor Miles Parkinson (Hyndburn); Councillor Ian Moran (West Lancashire); Graham Cowley (Lancashire Enterprise Partnership); Councillor Susan Fazackerley (Fylde); Councillor Peter Rankin (Preston); Councillor Alistair Bradley (Chorley); Councillor Mark Townsend (Burnley)

Front row (L-R) Councillor Mohammed Iqbal (Pendle); Councillor Margaret Smith (South Ribble); Councillor Simon Blackburn (Blackpool); Councillor Eileen Blamire (Lancaster); Councillor Alyson Barnes (Rossendale); Councillor Mohammed Khan (Blackburn with Darwen); Councillor Jennifer Mein (Lancashire County Council); Councillor Stuart Hirst (Ribble Valley)

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