A proposed devolution deal offering ‘local decision making at local level’ has been signed during a ceremony at Lancaster Castle.
After many years of negotiations between the government and local councils, Levelling Up Minister, Jacob Young, put pen to paper at Lancaster Castle along with council leaders during a behind closed doors event.
The deal is between Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
A total of £20m will be provided to Lancashire Combined County Authority along with a further £1m to support the authority in the early stages of the deal. The Adult Education Budget will also be devolved as part of the deal. The Combined County Authority is expected to be implemented in 2024 and be ready by 2025.
Levelling Up Minister, Jacob Young, said: “This marks a significant milestone as we finalise the Level 2 devolution agreement with Lancashire. This transformative deal is set to channel additional resources and authority away from Whitehall, empowering local communities.
‘’In a region with a rich history of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, Lancashire's prowess will be further harnessed through this arrangement, unlocking the full economic potential of the entire area.”
Key features of the deal for Lancashire deal:
Formation of the Lancashire CCA, providing the overall vision and leadership to seek best value for taxpayers and accountability for local residents.
Integration of the Lancashire LEP into the CCA thus ensuring a strong and independent local business input into the strategic economic planning undertaken by the formation of a Lancashire Business Board.
Devolved powers to shape local skills provisions, including Adult Education functions and budget.
Transport powers to help integrate transport decision making across the county to make it easier to plan strategically and improve services.
New powers to utilise Compulsory Purchase to drive area-based regeneration and build more affordable homes.
Up to £20 million of capital funding to support innovation led growth (including assets to maximise the benefits of National Cyber Force HQ) and net zero ambitions across Lancashire, subject to full business case approval.
The deal is subject to local consultation, ratification by the constituent councils, and parliamentary approval of the secondary legislation implementing the provisions of the deal.
Cllr Phillippa Williamson, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: "The signing of this document is a hugely significant milestone for us and marks the start of a new beginning for Lancashire.
"We are hugely ambitious for our county and believe devolution will unlock so many more opportunities for our businesses and residents.
"Ensuring local decisions are made at a local level is absolutely key to what devolution is all about. Through this deal Whitehall will pass these powers to us in Lancashire, as well as the resources to make them happen."