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Chancellor Jeremy Hunt expected to announce devolution deal for Lincolnshire

A devolution deal for Lincolnshire – which is expected to bring tens of millions of pounds of extra funding to the county - is expected to be announced by the Chancellor later this week.

Though the local councils themselves are keeping tight-lipped, Lincoln MP Karl McCartney, however, expects a devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire will be announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt during his Autumn statement on Wednesday.

Lincolnshire has been vying for a deal for several years now, but missed out on the latest round of deals earlier this year.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a devolution deal
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce a devolution deal

If successful, devolution would introduce an additional layer of authority led by a directly-elected Lincolnshire mayor, on top of both the county and district councils, as well as the unitary authorities of North and North East Lincolnshire.

Mr McCartney (Con) said: “I hope that the Chancellor announces that there will be devolution for Greater Lincolnshire.”

He described the move as a “huge opportunity that should be met with open arms,” and said he would “fully endorse and support it”.

“It will also lead to more funding, more powers to make big decisions locally and create a clear champion for our wonderful county,” he added.

“Greater Lincolnshire needs to have a higher profile nationally, and a Greater Lincolnshire Mayor would deliver and be responsible for this.

“This would better support our brilliant companies, industries, and farming community.

“The mayor would also have powers to both promote and protect our wonderful coast, countryside, city, towns, and villages — all of which are hugely important.”

It is understood, though not confirmed, that Lincolnshire County Council could be set to discuss a potential deal at a Full Council meeting on December 1.

However, asked for confirmation, further details, and comments from council leaders, a spokesperson for the authority said: “We won’t be able to make any statement until a government announcement.”

They later added: “The full council is the full council and will be taking place regardless.”

The position was backed by North East Lincolnshire Council representatives. North Lincolnshire Council had not responded by the time of publication.

Lincolnshire failed at devolution in 2016 because council leaders at Lincolnshire County Council and South Kesteven District Council didn’t want a mayor as an additional layer of bureaucracy.

At the time, more than 4,000 residents took part in a County Council-led consultation, with most local people backing devolution in principle.

Around 59% of respondents supported pursuing greater powers. However, 49% opposed the idea of a Mayoral Combined Authority – a new body headed by a directly elected mayor.

Then, in February 2022, Lincolnshire missed out on another round of devolution negotiations, but then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the government was keen for Lincolnshire to have its own deal.

This time, there is no option — the Government indicated that the devolution of any significant powers or funding will require a directly elected mayor.

Two further deals were announced by the government in December 2022 for Norfolk and Suffolk, who would not just gain new powers but about £20 million a year extra in funding.

Under the latest devolution deal, a new layer of authority led by a directly-elected mayor would be created over the top three upper tiers of Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, and North East Lincolnshire.

It is understood that districts are generally supportive of the latest plans, but there have been concerns in the past that the move would lead to local government reorganisation and the dissolution of lower-tier authorities.

Councillors will be waiting with bated breath to see what the Chancellor says during his statement on Wednesday at 12.30pm.

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