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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Lancashire councils to decide on combined authority

COUNCILLORS in West Lancashire are to discuss whether the borough wants to join forces with authorities across Lancashire to create a Combined Authority.

West Lancashire Borough Council will debate the proposals at a council meeting on Wednesday 16 December.

Councillors will be asked to note the progress made so far and decide on whether they want to agree in principle to the Combined Authority and take part in a public consultation early in the new year.

Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council, said: “A Combined Authority would see all the Lancashire councils work closer together on key issues such as jobs, housing and transport links, providing a stronger voice for us all, and gaining extra powers from Government. There is an opportunity for West Lancashire Borough Council to become part of this new authority, and we will consider all the issues at the Council meeting.”

A Combined Authority is a legal body that means councils across a designated area, in this case Lancashire, can work together better and be more accountable to residents.

All 12 district councils, as well as Lancashire County Council and the two unitary authorities – Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool Councils – have been involved in the process.

The report going to West Lancashire’s full Council asks Councillors to push forward the move that could see Lancashire councils gain more power from central government and provide a stronger voice for Lancashire.

Each of the councils is expected to take a report to their full council between now and Christmas. South Ribble Borough Council was the first to take a decision on Wednesday 18 November.  Hyndburn, Chorley, Blackpool, and South Ribble Councils have already signed up to the scheme.

Wyre Council has so far indicated it does not want to take the proposal any further. Discussions are continuing to find a way forward so that Wyre Council will join the rest of the authorities in seeking public opinion on a Combined Authority for Lancashire.

If agreement is reached a formal consultation would start in January.

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