Lancashire Devolution Discussed
On Thursday 18th January, The Economic Development Team attended one of several events which have been held across the county, to brief business owners on the Lancashire Devolution deal. Over 160 business decision-makers attended the event, organised by the North and Western Chamber of Commerce. The early morning meeting included a Q and A session with a panel consisting of the Leader of Lancashire County Council, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Growth and the Director of Growth and Regeneration.
Phillippa Williamson, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “To have so many businesses represented through the Chamber shows how important this deal is to the county.
“Without businesses input the proposed deal misses out on a key element which we hope will drive economic growth in the coming decades. This deal will change the way Lancashire does business and we are confident it will open more doors to investment opportunities that we have not been able to access before.”
Aidy Riggott, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member Economic Development and Growth, said: “This is a once in a lifetime chance to get the best deal for Lancashire and for us to have one voice in the decision-making process for the county.
“Having so many businesses here at one event shows they are invested in the devolution journey we are on. We need their input into how they want it to frame the future of the Lancashire economic landscape. We cannot continue this journey without their voice.”
Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the Chamber, added: “The fact there was standing room only for this event shows not only the interest in the deal but also how the eventual deal will affect their businesses. Lancashire businesses all have one goal, to grow and make the county a prosperous place and that can only be achieved if the business community makes their voice heard. This was the perfect platform for that to happen.”
In Autumn 2023, the Government announced it would be willing to enter into a devolution deal with Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.
Lancashire’s proposed devolution deal was then signed in November 2023 following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. It is being seen as a landmark agreement that will grant autonomy to make decisions that will serve the interests of the county’s business community and propel economic development.
The deal, if given final approval, will transfer new money and powers from central Government to a newly created Combined County Authority, allowing it to tackle key local priorities.
The deal would not require a change to the established democratic structures across the county or the need for an elected mayor. It will not require an extra charge on council tax.
Business owners, as well as residents, have been urged to complete a questionnaire on the key elements of the proposal which will be fed back to government upon completion of the consultation process on January 26th.
Publicity has been widespread through business support organisations and all Local Authorities; this is your last week to make your voice heard via the consultation.