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Key points of the devolution deal for Lincolnshire

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn statement is promised to herald a new era for Greater Lincolnshire with a substantial devolution deal.

Lincolnshire County Council says this is going to transform the region’s governance, offering enhanced control over local funds and decisions – however it has received a mixed reaction from leaders of district authorities.

Here’s the key elements of this groundbreaking move:

Celebrating the devolution deal for Lincolnshire are: Coun Robert Waltham, Coun Philip Jackson and Coun Martin Hill
Celebrating the devolution deal for Lincolnshire are: Coun Robert Waltham, Coun Philip Jackson and Coun Martin Hill

Key points of the Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal:

Creation of a new authority: The deal introduces the Greater Lincolnshire Mayoral Combined County Authority (MCCA), covering Lincolnshire, North, and North East Lincolnshire.

Directly-elected mayor: From 2025, a mayor elected by local residents will head the MCCA, tasked with crucial responsibilities in transport, housing, and education planning.

Enhanced local control: The authority aims to streamline regional governance, empowering local councils while avoiding added bureaucratic layers.

Devolution focus: The transfer of powers and funds from central to local government aims to bolster region-specific decision-making, especially in transport, housing, and environmental sustainability.

Financial implications: The Mayor will manage a significant annual budget of £24 million, with spending decisions made in conjunction with local councils.

Long-term government support: Irrespective of changes in the national political landscape, the deal ensures continued government backing, providing stability and consistency.

Economic growth and local decision-making: The deal is designed to catalyse economic growth and shift financial control from Westminster to local councils, fostering more localised decision-making.

Mayor’s powers and responsibilities: The mayor will be responsible for a budget aimed at regional development, focusing on improving public services like transport, health, and policing.

Preparation for mayoral office: A shadow board will be set up in April to oversee the initial fund allocation and prepare for the Mayor’s office establishment in 2025.

Breaking down the money

Annual investment: Control of £24 million per year for 30 years, split evenly between capital and revenue. This investment aims to drive long-term growth and address local priorities.

Capital funding: An additional £20 million in capital funding is earmarked for place-based economic regeneration, subject to a business case process.

Mayoral capacity funding: £2 million is allocated to support the initial stages of the MCCA.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: From 2025/26, strategic planning and delivery of the UKSPF will be a key focus, subject to the next Spending Review’s outcomes.

New powers — the mayor will make decisions about:

Education and job training: The MCCA will have the authority to shape local skills provision, including the devolution of the core Adult Education Budget and input into Local Skills Improvement Plans.

Building affordable homes and improving areas: The MCCA will have new powers, including compulsory purchase powers and the ability to establish Mayoral Development Corporations, aimed at building more affordable homes and driving area regeneration.

Better bus services and planning other transport projects: The MCCA will introduce integrated local transport improvements, including bus franchising and control of local transport functions. The mayor will oversee a consolidated local transport settlement, working in partnership with the Department for Transport to address rural connectivity and establish new rail partnerships.

The Mayor’s big role

The Mayor will look after this new group and make sure local people’s voices are heard. Existing councils will continue running as they are.

The mayor will be expected to enhance the area’s strategic partnerships and collaborations:

Plan for a cleaner environment: Collaboration with the Department for Energy, Security, and Net Zero, including participation in the Humber Energy Board, will be crucial in developing a comprehensive Net Zero Strategy.

Protect the coast and its nature: A new coastal partnership will ensure the representation of Lincolnshire’s coast’s nature, culture, and heritage.

Balance farming with looking after nature: The MCCA will work closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to balance sustainable food production with environmental outcomes, including participation in the UK Food Valley Programme Board.

Work with local artists, sports teams, and community groups: The MCCA will establish a collaborative partnership with cultural, heritage, sport, community, and visitor economy bodies to enrich the region’s cultural landscape.

What’s next?

Following the formal signing, council meetings across the three leading authority areas will vote on the proposal.

This will be followed by a public consultation across Greater Lincolnshire, ensuring that the deal reflects the aspirations and needs of its residents.

Public consultation is expected to commence in December, providing residents an opportunity to voice their opinions and contribute to shaping the future of the region under this new governance structure.

The immediate steps involve council votes and extensive public consultation, offering every resident of Greater Lincolnshire a voice in shaping their future.

This process will ensure that the devolution proposal genuinely reflects the collective will and needs of the region.

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