Solent devolution: Southampton approves combined authority plans

civic centreSouthampton City Council says plans for a Solent Combined Authority took a big step forward on October 19 as  it became the second local authority to agree to formalise an application to government for a devolution deal for the Solent region.

 

This from the council in their own words:

 

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The decision to apply to government for the creation of a combined authority was taken at a special meeting of Southampton City Council's Cabinet following discussion of the proposals at an Extraordinary Council meeting earlier in the day.

Southampton’s decision follows that of Portsmouth City Council which was made on 12 October. The Isle of Wight Council has an extraordinary meeting of its Executive on 24 October to decide if they also wish to progress the plans. If all three councils agree, a formal application to create a Solent Mayoral Combined Authority will be submitted to government.

Southampton City Council’s decision comes after a public consultation saw 71 per cent of respondents stating they were in favour of moving power and funding for the economy, transport and jobs from central government to groups of local councils working together.

The same proportion supported the idea of the Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership working closer together.

Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council said: “We’ve successfully completed the latest stage of the process for creating a Solent Combined Authority. Moving decision making powers and funding from central government to the local area is essential for us to deliver our ambitions to have more skilled and better paid jobs, more investment, a reduced welfare bill, improved transport integration, and more good quality new homes.

“I believe the combined authority will deliver real and positive change for the residents of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. I’m confident the Isle of Wight will follow suit next week and look forward to formally submitting our application to government.”

The proposed authority would take on responsibility for some services currently managed by central government and receive £900m of new funding over the next 30 years. This will allow more decisions to be made locally rather than in Westminster, with a focus on driving economic growth, improving infrastructure and transport links and delivering homes in the region.

The combined authority would not replace any of the councils involved. Each council would be an equal member and be represented on its board which could be led by a directly elected mayor.

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