Lincolnshire’s devolution deal ‘ready to go’ but put on hold until after general election

Greater Lincolnshire’s much-discussed devolution deal is “ready to go” but will remain on hold until after the general election. Councillor Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said that approval was not given by central government in time — and will now have to wait until after July 4.

The region has been working on a new combined mayoral authority for Greater Lincolnshire for years, which would see Lincolnshire County Council, North and North East Lincolnshire Councils come together under one directly elected mayor for the area. The devolution deal was announced in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement last year.

It pledges a £24 million annual budget for the combined mayoral authority for three decades, with spending decisions made in conjunction with local councils. Devolution would, in theory, transfer power and funds from central to local government and allow those elected to represent their given areas more control over decisions — but critics argue it is just an additional layer of bureaucracy within local government.

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A round of consultation to ensure the deal was as locally-focused as possible took place, though the mere 0.365 per cent participation rate has raised eyebrows, casting doubt on the consultation’s effectiveness and validity. With parliament dissolving ahead of the July 4 election, the handbrake has been slammed on a final decision on Greater Lincolnshire’s devolution deal.

Councillor Hill says the deal is “ready to go” and will hopefully be top of the pile on the desk of whichever government reigns supreme at the general election. He said: “The devolution deal is ready to go but wasn’t able to be part of the government sweep up before dissolution.

“So it will be ready for the new minister when parliament reconvenes.” With plans for a local election for a new mayor of Greater Lincolnshire for May 2025, the clock will be ticking for a new government to process the deal and get it back to the county in time — particularly with Lincolnshire County Council elections scheduled to take place next year.

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