Better late than never

It seems that Lancashire may finally be ready to take its place at the top table of the Northern Powerhouse.

For five years, the county has looked on as first Manchester and then Liverpool established combined authorities, secured devolution deals and elected mayors.

Not only have these initiatives delivered millions of pounds worth of additional support in areas such as transport, economic development and skills and training, but, as we have witnessed very clearly in recent weeks, these city regions have powerful elected figureheads who have direct access to government.

That it has taken Lancashire so long to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ is disappointing – but better late than never.

It now seems that our politicians, led by the County Council, have managed to secure a deal whereby a combined authority will be set up in Lancashire. Although there are still some who remain sceptical, it cannot have escaped their notice that the lobbying muscle of Manchester and Liverpool will likely deliver them a further tranche of investment post-Covid-19.

And, despite Lancashire developing a seriously impressive recovery plan of its own, the truth is that without a single vehicle to deliver said plan, the government will be reluctant to hand over the sums of cash that those places governed by mayors will receive.

It really is imperative that any further doubts and delays are put to one side

It really is imperative that any further doubts and delays are put to one side, so that we can play a full part in what will be a challenging time for the country. Leeds and West Yorkshire will have their own elected mayor by May 2021. Cheshire is making the necessary arrangements to get on board with this new, preferred governance structure.

The time for dallying has long gone. Parochialism has no place at a time when we face an unprecedented economic crisis and we need as much collaboration, unity and resource as we can possibly muster.

Lancashire has done okay, despite our best efforts to shoot ourselves in the foot in recent times. Imagine how much more we will achieve with a combined authority, an elected mayor and a multi-millionpound devolution deal.

  • To read this feature in full and access further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View magazine or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.