Agenda item

DEVOLUTION DEAL FOR GREATER LINCOLNSHIRE

(A report of James Gilbert, Assistant Director – Corporate)

Minutes:

The Leader presented the report which provided Council with an update on the proposed Devolution Deal and sought input from Council Members to inform the Leader’s response to the Consultation.

 

In their Autumn Statement the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, announced that a Devolution Deal had been developed for Greater Lincolnshire. The development and negotiation of the Deal, which to progress requires the formation of a Mayoralty Combined Authority, with Directly Elected Mayor, was led by Greater Lincolnshire’s Upper Tier Councils – Lincolnshire County Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and North Lincolnshire Council.

 

The Leader confirmed that the Devolution Deal was one of the first things to be picked up following the election in May 2023 and decisions had already been made, however there had been no previous consultation to Members prior. It was confirmed at that time that only two seats were available to the seven District Councils. Following discussion this was subsequently increased to four seats.

 

As at the 2021 Census; North Lincolnshire’s population was 169,700, North East Lincolnshire’s population was 156,900. In total the two Northern unitary Councils had a population of 326,600. In the same census, Lincolnshire Council had more than double the number of the two constituent Councils in the North with a population of 768,364. On the Mayoral Combined County Authority the North had two thirds of the seats despite having a significantly lower population.

 

The Leader informed Council that, following a discussion with the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, it was confirmed that the average spend per District Council was £65million between 2017 and 2022. The average spend in Boston was £23.7million, which was the lowest in Lincolnshire at 5.2% of the overall total. The Leader put the question to Boston’s Lincolnshire County Council’s representatives as to why the underspend was allowed to occur.

 

Lincolnshire County Council were awarded £20million of funding to be shared out amongst all of the Districts, despite placing a bid Boston received no funding. It was reported that Lincolnshire County Councillors voted for Boston to receive nothing.

 

Ahead of debate the Council resolved to suspend Council procedure rule 17.5 which allowed Members to speak more than once.

 

Council made the following comments:-

  • The Deal would not create anything beneficial for Lincolnshire
  • The document and consultation had been worded in a way to ensure a positive response
  • The Mayoralty should not have the authority to issue a precept without consultation

·        Members raised concern regarding the number of seats available to District/Borough and as a result the Borough may not be represented on the combined authority.

  • The deal would create an unneeded and unwanted additional layer of bureaucracy
  • The Deal did not include reference to the Docks, and little reference to agriculture and heritage

 

RESOLVED:

  1. That Council noted the progress on the Greater Lincolnshire Devolution as part of the ‘Level three deal’ offer from the Government
  2. That Council noted that a consultation was currently taking place on the proposed Devolution Deal for Greater Lincolnshire and that Council Members provided their own views to inform the Leader of the Council’ response to the Consultation.

3.      The Council was disappointed that the governance arrangements do not allow for each of the 7 District Councils to have a seat on the Mayoral Combined County Authority.

4.     The Council was concerned that the funding arrangements were not linked to any inflationary increases, therefore, we question what the value of £24 million per annum will be in the year 2054.

5.     Given the content of the entire proposal and deal the Council cannot support it in its current form.

 

Supporting documents: