Lancashire’s influence within the Northern Powerhouse will be undermined if the county fails to establish a Combined Authority and consider having an elected mayor.
That was the warning from the leader of Blackpool Council, Simon Blackburn, at a special ‘Devo Lancs’ event hosted by Downtown Lancashire earlier this week.
Cllr Blackburn told business leaders:
“Whilst Liverpool has Steve Rotheram banging the drum for their city region and Andy Burnham is knocking on the door of ten Downing Street lobbying for funding for Greater Manchester, we still have a few council’s in Lancashire who will not commit to a devolution arrangement.
“This means that we are missing out as a county. Missing out on investment. Missing out on influence. And missing out from playing a full part within the Northern Powerhouse.”
Downtown boss Frank McKenna commented:
“It is a great shame that the moves towards a Lancashire Combined Authority appear to have stalled. The majority of local authority leaders see the pragmatic sense in making progress, but a small minority of councils are holding us back.
“It was clear from the last government budget that more investment and resources are being made available to those regions who have opted for devolution and elected mayors. Not only Liverpool and Manchester, but the West Midlands too. We really do need to get our act together as a county in 2018.”
This event was the first in a series of ‘Devo Lancs’ events being organised by Downtown. Next up is a Roundtable with the leader of Lancashire County Council Geoff Driver on 7th March, followed by a forum with Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry on the 15th March.