Community leaders have thrown their hats in the ring to bring more power and responsibility to the area.
Councillors along with business, health, education and police bosses on Friday made a joint ‘expression of interest’ to Central Government for a range of powers and funding to be given directly to ‘Greater Lincolnshire’.
The organisations involved believe services can be run better and more efficiently at a local level than the present nationally-run arrangements. Each organisation would retain their current responsibilities and powers, but would work together to meet any new powers agreed with government.
Chairman of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Ursula Lidbetter said: “To achieve the ambitions of our Strategic Economic Plan, it’s imperative that Greater Lincolnshire has devolved accountability and budgets for the key levers of our economy.
“Through the devolution process the Greater Lincolnshire LEP will continue to work with our public and private sectors, ensuring by alignment of our resources that local businesses retain a strong voice in the decisions and planning of investment in our area.”
The expression of interest focuses on the benefits of this approach including: accelerating economic growth; improving transport links regionally, nationally and internationally; tailoring skills to the needs of local employers to boost employment opportunities in the county; managing flood risk; meeting housing needs; and joining up health and care services to improve people’s health and wellbeing.
The new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, has made it clear that he is supportive of devolving powers currently held by central government to local areas.
Areas such as Greater Manchester and Cornwall have already been successful in their approaches for devolved powers.
North Kesteven District Council Leader Coun Marion Brighton believed there could be significant benefits for Greater Lincolnshire: “Devolution will help us to make a difference in many areas, most significantly in relation to economic growth, housing, health and social care.
“At this stage, our proposals represent an expression of interest for the government to consider. No firm decisions have been taken and all partners will have the opportunity to review detailed proposals in due course.
“We very much look forward to further discussions with partners and with the government, in order to deliver devolution and achieve the significant benefits that could be on offer for our communities.”