Martin Ford 09 November 2020

Combined authority expansion halted by ‘party politics’

Combined authority expansion halted by ‘party politics’ image

The expansion of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has stalled after leaders failed to reach an agreement.

North Somerset Council was poised to join the authority, with a promise of up to £900m of additional funding from the Government on the table as a result.

However, North Somerset will not now join in the near future, according to a letter to local government minister Luke Hall signed by the West of England Mayor Tim Bowles, and the leaders of South Gloucestershire, Bath & North East Somerset, and North Somerset.

The letter appears to shift the blame onto the lone Labour-controlled WECA member, Bristol City Council.

It read: ‘Discussions among political leaders of WECA members have not come to a positive conclusion to agree to North Somerset joining to meet the timeline ahead of the 2021 elections.

‘We are particularly disappointed by this as there had been an agreement among leaders at the outset of this process that it was the right thing to do for the region.

'We are afraid to say that party politics has got in the way.’

The Government was supportive of North Somerset joining the authority.

However, all WECA members would have to agree to the admission of North Somerset.

The letter said it was a 'huge missed opportunity’ though the councils expressed an intention to restart talks.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, (pictured) responded that he was ‘disappointed’ at the decision to publish the letter ‘airing internal differences’.

He added: ‘This was an ongoing internal debate and should have remained so.

‘WECA was not able to achieve clarity from the government on a financial settlement for the region.

‘I support the expansion of WECA to include North Somerset but only when there is a clear financial offer that benefits Bristol and the West of England economy.’

Unpicking the pilots image

Unpicking the pilots

The Government’s quick reversal of its stay local guidance in new variant surge areas has led to calls for clear messaging from the centre, says Paul Marinko.
Supporting young victims of domestic abuse image

Supporting young victims of domestic abuse

Steph Waddell says it’s time for a serious long-term commitment from government to improve understanding of what works in supporting children affected by domestic abuse.
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Service Manager - Disability Transition (Part Time)

Essex County Council
£58727 - £66963 per annum + + Local Gov Package
Service Manager - Disability Transition (Part Time)Permanent£58,727 to £66,963 Per Annum, Pro RataLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Traffic Projects Officer

City of York Council
£27,614 to £30,602 pro rata per annum
We have a great opportunity for a Projects Officer to join our busy Traffic Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council


City of York Council
£36,476 to £41,830 per annum
An exciting opportunity for an experienced accountant to work in our People Directorate Finance Team, which covers support for... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Apprentice Welder

City of York Council
This post will  contribute towards the provision of an efficient and effective service/team in highway metalwork repairs and... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Adult Social Workers - Basildon

Essex County Council
£32065 - £43839 per annum
Adult Social Workers - BasildonPermanent, Full Time£32,065 - £43,839 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue