Lancashire resumes Combined Authority discussions

A Lancashire Combined Authority could be back on the agenda after a majority of the county's councils agreed to explore a devolution deal.

The move follows the Conservative party's announcement, in its election manifesto, that combined authorities no longer require elected mayors.

This had previously been a sticking point in discussions for a number of Lancashire's councils.

Councillor Simon Blackburn chaired a shadow Combined Authority meeting to discuss the developments with all 15 councils, which he described as "very positive" with all involved committed to exploring the devolution deal further.

“We all agreed that it is better for everyone in Lancashire if we work together and speak with one voice," he said.

“We want to see more investment in our region benefitting the people of Lancashire providing better homes, more jobs and improvements to our infrastructure.”

He added: “It’s been a frustrating ten months waiting for the government to give us some clarity on which direction they want us to go but now we have an option that all the Lancashire councils could be willing to consider."

He said that following the meeting, he will be writing to the Secretary of State for further details on how a devolution deal without a mayor may progress, and that it was important for government to respond in a timely manner. MP Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse Minister, supported the developments in a letter to Councillor Blackburn.