Laura Sharman 13 June 2016

Need for elected mayor puts Cheshire devolution bid on hold

Need for elected mayor puts Cheshire devolution bid on hold image

The proposed devolution deal for Cheshire and Warrington has been put on hold, following concerns over the requirement to have an elected mayor.

The three local authorities in the region - Cheshire East, Cheshire West & Chester and Warrington councils – had put forward a devolution bid last year calling for new powers and funding.

However, in a joint statement they said: ‘Following political discussions in Warrington a potential consultation with the public and businesses on a proposed devolution deal for Cheshire and Warrington has been put on hold.

‘We remain strongly committed to collaborative working on a number of key initiatives and we will continue to explore how best to secure more power and resources for our area.’

The leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, cllr Samantha Dixon, added ‘it is disappointing that we haven’t been able to move forward to a consultation on a possible devolution deal at the moment’.

She explained: ‘Whilst the benefits of devolution are extremely favourable for our residents, the Government’s insistence on an elected mayor has made it difficult for all politicians to come to an agreement. The majority of councillors in Cheshire West and Chester were likely to support a consultation to seek the views of residents.

‘If Government is serious about delivering its Northern Powerhouse, now is the time to give up powers to sub-regions and local areas to make their own decisions and I would urge all of our parliamentarians to support this.’

A DCLG spokesman said: 'The Government is determined to devolve power and resources to local people who know their areas best.

'This is a bottom-up process and it is up to local areas to come forward with their proposals but ministers are clear the door remains open to Cheshire and Warrington.'

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