Thomas Bridge 25 October 2016

Isle of Wight approves combined authority

Plans for a Solent Combined Authority have been approved by Isle of Wight Council, following a U-turn on local support.

The council’s executive last night overturned a decision by the full council and agreed to back the deal with Portsmouth and Southampton city councils.

However, Isle of Wight could still withdraw its support unless communities secretary Sajid Javid green-lights ‘suitable terms’ for the deal.

Isle of Wight Council leader, Cllr Jonathan Bacon, said: ‘This decision will mean the Isle of Wight Council can stay at the table as these discussions progress, with the involvement of the secretary of state.

‘The council will still retain the option of not joining the combined authority if suitable terms cannot be agreed or the expected devolution deal, including an expected commitment for £900m investment funds over 30 years, is not secured with the Government - both will need the further and final agreement of the council.’

‘By taking this decision to stay at the table, we are ensuring that every opportunity is examined and kept open as we endeavour to secure a long-term sustainable financial future for the council and the Island as a whole.’

Councillors earlier this month rejected a motion put forward by Cllr Bacon calling on the local authority’s executive to ask the Government to establish the new authority.

Portsmouth City Council approved plans for the Solent Combined Authority on 12 October, while members of Southampton City Council green-lit the proposals one week later.

For more on devolution visit The MJ (£).

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