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Will Preston back a Combined Authority for Lancashire?

Posted on - 6th December, 2015 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - News, Politics, Preston Council
Would the Combined Authority bring a new dawn to Preston and Lancashire? Pic: Tony Worrall

Would the Combined Authority bring a new dawn to Preston and Lancashire? Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston looks set to back creating a Combined Authority for Lancashire.

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Councillors in the city will be asked to vote on Thursday on whether the new combined authority should be formed.

Leader of the city council, councillor Peter Rankin, has come down in favour of the new authority which would focus on housing, transport and the economy of the county.

Cllr Rankin said: “This is a hugely important step for Lancashire and for Preston. Let’s be honest, the scale of the issues we face across the County and the huge cuts to council spending mean the focus of council activity needs to change to reflect government economic strategy.

“A new approach is needed so that councils in Lancashire become more joined up and work together for the benefit of everyone in Lancashire.

“It is our duty to respond to the needs of our residents and do all we can to improve the local economy and the quality of life of local people.

“A Combined Authority has the potential to do this and more, empowering Lancashire to up its game and play into the Government’s devolution agenda and the Northern Powerhouse.

“Of course we also have fantastic strengths to offer the Northern Powerhouse, including the skills and knowledge of our work force in advanced engineering and the early success of our City Deal.

“We owe it to the people of Lancashire and to the people of Preston not to get left behind and sit on the side lines whilst the rest of England enjoys new powers and new investment. That’s why I am fully behind the creation of a Combined Authority and will be whole heartedly recommending it to my Labour Group next week before the Council meets to discuss it.”

Councils across Lancashire are currently putting the idea of a Combined Authority to councillors throughout December.

Related: Ask Rankin, five things we learned from the second quizzing of city council leader

If the majority of councils in Lancashire agree with the principle of the new authority it moves to a full public consultation.

Supporters of the Combined Authority approach point to the Greater Manchester authority which has won significant devolved powers from Whitehall and major funding and investment.

Critics say the Combined Authority will be riven with infighting and create another layer of bureaucracy in the county.

What do you make of the plans for a Combined Authority? Do you think it will happen? Let us know in the comments below

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