Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Boston Borough Council refuses to support proposed devolution deal

Boston Borough Council says it cannot support the Devolution Deal that is proposed for Greater Lincolnshire.

After seeking views from all Councillors, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Anne Dorrian, has now formally written a response on behalf of the council to a consultation into the proposed deal and Mayoral Combined County Authority arrangements.

At Full Council on Monday 15 January, Councillors voted unanimously to reject the proposals in their current form, with specific concerns relating to the deal itself and its governance, which Boston Borough Council says at present does not give all District/Borough Councils a voice on the Mayoral Combined County Authority.

The Deal negotiated with Government by the upper-tier councils includes:

  • £24m per year for 30 years.
  • £28.4m to Greater Lincolnshire for 2024/25, to be allocated prior to the Mayoral Combined County Authority being established in 2025.
  • The devolution of strategy and budgets related to skills; and multi-year transport budgets, with flexibility to allocate funds to local priorities.

Councillors were concerned that none of the projects put forward by the council for a share of the initial £28.4m funding pot for 2024/25 were supported by Lincolnshire County Council.

They also noted from data in the council report that over the past five years, Boston has received significantly less investment from Lincolnshire County Council for major infrastructure investment in recent years when compared to other areas in the county.

The consultation response states the council has little confidence that this will change going forward if the deal proceeds.

Cllr Anne Dorrian, Leader of Boston Borough Council, said: “The council speaks with one voice and is being very clear – this is not a deal we can support.

“Whilst the council welcomes the transfer of Government powers to the local area, it must come with appropriate funding that can make a real impact for our communities. This deal simply does not do that for Boston Borough or wider Lincolnshire.

“Council has confirmed a view that I have shared on several occasions with the upper tier councils that all district/borough councils must be represented on the Mayoral Combined Authority.

“Numerous times the Leaders of district/borough councils asked to be directly involved in the deal negotiations but until very recently the detail was unknown to us. Had we have been engaged sooner and in a meaningful way we could have maybe helped secure a better deal for Greater Lincolnshire.

“The deal, at present, does not outweigh the cost to our communities of introducing a Mayoral Combined County Authority with a Directly Elected Mayor who can raise a precept for our residents to pay at a time of serious financial hardship for many.”

The council also has concerns over the deal document where there are significantly important details still to be resolved and has also raised concerns about the public consultation process.


Image: Loneragan

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