Sorry for the slight hiatus with regards to blogs – my only excuse is that I have been down south for a few days for Easter. Sorry!
Anyway, I attended my first council meeting tonight as your councillor. I made my debut by asking the leader of a council about possible environmental initiatives that a Lancashire Combined Authority may provide. Hopefully, I didn’t come across too badly but watch the webcast and decide for yourselves – CLICK HERE FOR WEBCAST (it may not be available until later):
The agenda item on the combined authority was the “biggie” of the evening.
There is quite a lot of mis-information on this proposal going around but to me, it’s a no brainer.
We would not losing our unitary authority status – don’t think of the combined authority as a pseudo Lancashire County Council – that’s not it all. See below:
As part of the Governance Review Leaders developed ambitions for Lancashire. These are:
Prosperous Lancashire – a Lancashire that is recognised as a destination of choice, to invest in, do business in, live or visit;
Connected Lancashire – digital and transport connectivity to promote inclusive growth;
Skilled Lancashire – a skilled workforce to meet the demands of employers and future business growth;
Better Homes for Lancashire – better living standards for residents with good quality homes and a wide housing offer
Public services working together for Lancashire – integrated public services at the heart of local communities giving everyone the opportunity for a healthier life.
Leaders have recognised that some of the ambitions set out above can be delivered through the existing excellent partnership arrangements in place across the County geography. However, in order to attract and maintain economic growth and achieve a prosperous Lancashire for all, we need to demonstrate that Lancashire means business and provide reassurance that we have strong, robust governance arrangements in place and a commitment to work together.
The Lancashire Combined Authority will provide a legally constituted body operating across Lancashire to take strategic decisions on transport, economic development and regeneration and strengthen the relationship with the LEP (local enterprise partnership) and local authorities.
So we would absolutely still be 100% Blackpool Council, but we would work with the other Lancashire councils to further some of the bullet pointed issues above. Both the Merseyside and Greater Manchester councils have already formed combined authorities and to compete with these 2 local behemoths, I believe we need to do the same.
This seems entirely sensible to me, so the Labour group voted unanimously in favour of forming a shadow combined authority with the other councils in Lancashire until the authority can be fully instated.
I hope that all of the above makes sense!
Anyway, it’s late and my bed is calling so drop by soon.