Cabinet White Paper on Devolution
LCC have provided the following update on the local government reorganisation debate and a new report being considered by the County Council's Cabinet next week which is below for those who are interested
The report provides an update on the Government's White Paper on Devolution and Local Recovery which is due to be published imminently. This is expected to set out proposals for local government structural reform and the role which greater devolution linked to improved local and regional accountability, with a preference for elected mayors, will play in local and national recovery.
The report proposes that council leader, Nick Rushton, writes to the Secretary of State requesting an invite to submit proposals for unitary government in Leicestershire as a prerequisite to a devolution settlement for the East Midlands.
I'm sure you'll remember that last year, the council developed a strategic business case setting out the benefits of re-shaping local government in Leicestershire and proposing a single council for Leicestershire. The report to Cabinet also recommends updating the business case to reflect the White Paper and bringing an independent research company on board to seek the views of stakeholders on the revised document.
Nick Rushton has said to the media: "Now is the time for change. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to simplify services, save over £30m a year and improve lives.
"Simply put, it's the right thing to do. The long-term financial situation facing councils is bleak. Unitary is the new normal – with the Government encouraging councils to bring forward proposals. And let's seize the chance to ramp up our approach to Covid-19 recovery.
"It also means we can put the East Midlands on the map. We're expecting the Government to make reorganisation a condition for devolution. And with leaders in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire also working towards reform, we can unlock the possibility of a regional devolution deal – the 6Cs model – establishing a mayoral combined authority for the East Midlands, bolstering our ability to attract much-needed Government investment and level up the region.
"Doing nothing isn't an option. Residents want easy access to effective, joined-up services – and be able to shape decisions that affect their communities. The current set up is bureaucratic, expensive and confusing – and we must put residents first and shake up the system. Exploring unitary puts us in control of our future and is our opportunity to move Leicestershire forward."
Posted: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 18:00 by Lynn Cosgrove