Devolution of key spending powers to Hyndburn could become a reality under plans to create a new ‘combined authority for Lancashire’.
Government proposals are being discussed by leaders across the county which could give them greater ‘influence’ over issues such as strategic transport, economic development, housing and regeneration decisions.
Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said it is ‘important Lancashire isn’t left behind’ following other devolution of powers to Manchester and Liverpool.
Speaking at the latest full council meeting, he said: “The government has outlined it and a paper is being worked up which will come to leaders later in the year. It’s a major decision.
“What we want to do is to try and get funding from central government devolved back to the people of Lancashire.
“If we have the budget we will decide where that money is spent.
“Of course within Hyndburn we have to make decisions on what we want to see and what our issues are, whether that’s housing, employment or even licensing landlords to make sure we have the power to do that. It’s about coming together.
“It’s about having consensus and being grown up and not having ‘Punch and Judy’ as these are serious issues which will relate to how health funding is devolved, especially around mental health.
“These are big topics, big issues and big responsibilities so we want to play a full part of that.”
Coun Parkinson also moved to quash fears the combined authority would mean the merging of local authorities to create one ‘super council’, which was rejected by councillors earlier this year.
Hyndburn council is expected to make its decision on whether to sign up to the combined authority when a report is presented to full council on November 19.
Public and stakeholder consultation will then follow in January and February next year with final submissions to the government in March 2016.
Conservative group leader Coun Tony Dobson told the meeting: “It is a major decision and it will be a major change for Lancashire. I think it could be an extremely good one if it is dealt with correctly.
“I’m pleased in the report it does scotch any idea of a takeover or type of super council but obviously the detail is important for everybody.”
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