The future of the devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority was plunged into doubt yesterday when Lincolnshire County Council decisively voted to reject the plans for a new Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority.
By a margin of 43-17, the council voted against the devolution package which would had given the new authority £15 million a year, for the next 30 years, to invest in infrastructure and would have given them financial responsibility for transport, housing, crisis management and the provision of skills training.
Local Government and Communities secretary Sajid Javid had made clear that in order to secure the deal, it would require the support of all 10 of the Greater Lincolnshire authorities. So far, eight councils have voted to support the devolution deal with Lincolnshire CC being the first to reject.
Speaking to LGC after the vote, Lincolnshire CC leader Cllr Chris Hill, who abstained in the debate, maintained that while ‘It’s not looking great, it’s not quite dead yet’. He said that the central bone of contention for councillors was the Government’s requirement that any devolution deal is accompanied by a directly elected mayor. ‘It’s off unless something dramatic happens.’
South Kesteven and South Holland District Councils are due to vote on the deal on Monday and Wednesday of next week. Cllr Hill has until 21 November to make a final decision on the matter. Whether this vote will force a review of the DCLG’s new insistence on the necessity of directly elected mayors remains to be seen.