Devolution: We have to start somewhere

By Frank McKenna

09 Jan 2024

frank-mckenna-w.jpg

The devo deal offered to Lancashire has been criticised by some district council leaders as lacking ambition – and for excluding them from the new combined authority.

The fact is a more pragmatic and less parochial approach is now needed from our political leaders.

I remember when the first Devo-Manc deal was announced in Greater Manchester.

Leaders there were disappointed that what they got did not include any financial powers. Eight years later, that has now changed. Andy Burnham and his colleagues have also added a range of powers to those agreed in that initial agreement.

Equally, when Liverpool accepted to create an elected city mayor in 2012, I think the cash award was around £30m.

Eleven years later, there is a Liverpool City Region Combined Authority which has powers over a host of strategic policy areas, including economic development, transport, and skills and training, with a budget of around £600m.

The point is, Lancashire is at the start of a long journey. Is the deal the most exciting I have ever seen? Of course not. But we have to start somewhere, and this gives the county something to build on.

Although I have some sympathy with district leaders who complain that they have no place on the new combined authority, I would ask them to reflect on whether they have been engaging in the devolution debate in good faith – or simply trying to erect barrier-after-barrier in the hope that the status quo would prevail.

That is not a sustainable approach.

Lancashire businesses are fed up watching investment for Further Education, skills, Innovation Zones, improved transport connectivity, and business support programmes pour into Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds.

Lancashire can only hope to win that type of support if we embark on this new opportunity in a positive fashion.

The first page of any devolution story is seldom as dynamic as places hope. But it is the next page, the next chapter, the story’s end that is important.

Will our political leaders work with the business community to write a positive, progressive narrative to build on the introduction – or will they rip up the script before it has a chance to develop? The business community is watching – and our patience is wearing thin.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Frank McKenna

Latest news

1

Hospital makes six-figure pledge to youth charity Bespoke Healthcare New Building

Hospital makes six-figure pledge to youth charity

01 Mar 2024

2

Beer and gin festival returns in support of local youth charity Blackburn Beer and Gin Festival

Beer and gin festival returns in support of local youth charity

29 Feb 2024

3

Half-price Accrington Food Festival offer for Hyndburn businesses TV and Netflix star Molly Robbins will be back to compere the Accrington Food Festival on Saturday 1st June 2024.jpg.jpg

Half-price Accrington Food Festival offer for Hyndburn businesses

01 Mar 2024

4

Holiday village retains VisitEngland five-star rating Ribby Hall Village Reeds Bay

Holiday village retains VisitEngland five-star rating

01 Mar 2024

5

Locally-brewed beer earns CAMRA gold award Lancaster Brewery Head Brewer Will Pammenter

Locally-brewed beer earns CAMRA gold award

01 Mar 2024

Background image for hub sign up block

LBV Hub

Reach 50,000 members of the Lancashire business community

Post your news
Post your events
Post your offers
Company profile
Social reach
Magazine coverage
Sign-up
Events
LBV115 Magazine Launch Event
DSC9389
Networking
20 Mar 2024

LBV115 Magazine Launch Event

Delta Hotels by Preston Marriott, Garstang Road, Broughton, PR3 5JB

16:00 - 18:00

The Landmark Great Hall open day
The Landmark Great Hall will host an Open Day on Sunday 3rd March.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub
03 Mar 2024

The Landmark Great Hall open day

The Landmark, 1 School Lane, Burnley, BB11 1UF

12:00 - 15:00

Business Networking in Chorley - BNI Endeavour
EVENT LISTING SIZING Endeavour.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
05 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Chorley - BNI Endeavour

Oak Royal, Bury Lane, Chorley, PR6 8SW

06:30 - 08:30

Techy Tuesday Meet-Up at Society1
Techy Tuesdays.jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Networking
05 Mar 2024

Techy Tuesday Meet-Up at Society1

Society1, Preston, PR1 3LT

12:00 - 13:00

Business Networking in Blackburn - BNI Vista
EVENT LISTING SIZING Vista.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
05 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Blackburn - BNI Vista

Hampton by Hilton, 2 Frontier Ave, Blackburn, BB1 3AL

06:45 - 08:30

Business Networking in Preston - BNI Diamond
LBV Hub Networking
06 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Preston - BNI Diamond

The Marriot Hotel, Garstang Road, Broughton, PR3 5JB

07:15 - 09:00

Business Networking in Lancaster - Eden Business Network
EVENT LISTING Eden Business Network.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
06 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Lancaster - Eden Business Network

The Borough, 3 Dalton Square, Lancaster, LA1 1PP

18:30 - 20:30

Business Networking in Accrington - BNI Zeus
EVENT LISTING SIZING Zeus.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
06 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Accrington - BNI Zeus

The Mill House, Corn Mill Yard, Accrington, BB5 5HX

06:45 - 08:30

Blackburn and Preston Audi VIP Events
Stoke NN (2).jpg.jpg
LBV Hub Exhibitions
07 Mar 2024 - 11 Mar 2024

Blackburn and Preston Audi VIP Events

Blackburn Audi/ Preston Audi, Blackburn Audi, Trident Park, Whitebirk Drive, Blackburn BB1 3HT / Preston Audi Riversway Motor Park, Nelson Way, Preston PR2 2JZ, BB1 3HT / PR2 2JZ

08:30 - 19:00

Business Networking in Burnley - BNI Kudos
EVENT LISTING BNI Kudos.png.png
LBV Hub Networking
07 Mar 2024

Business Networking in Burnley - BNI Kudos

Prairie Sports Village, Windemere Avenue, Burnley, BB10 2FU

06:45 - 08:30

The PM+M Spring Budget seminar - East Lancashire
Spring budget East Lancs.jpg.png
LBV Hub Seminars
07 Mar 2024

The PM+M Spring Budget seminar - East Lancashire

Lakeside Suite, Crow Wood Hotel, Holme Road, , Burnley, BB12 0RT

08:00 - 10:30

The PM+M Spring Budget seminar
Spring Budget Bury.png.png
LBV Hub Seminars
07 Mar 2024

The PM+M Spring Budget seminar

Red Hall Hotel, Manchester Road , Walmersley , BL9 5NA

12:45 - 15:15

Advertise with us

Reaching 50,000 members, our print, digital and event platforms offer a fantastic way to raise your business profile and help you grow.

Find out more Lbv114 Online Graphic
Subscribe now

Weekly news bulletin