Council leaders have agreed in principle to explore a combined authority for the county, to address issues such as transport and inward investment and give it greater clout in Whitehall funding decisions.
Councillors from the 15 Lancashire local authorities met on 10 June and unanimously agreed to investigate the possibility of greater devolution from central Government as a way of driving the county’s future economic growth.
Other areas of the UK that have set up a combined authority, including Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester, “have seen a boost to investment in the economy, infrastructure and skills”, a joint statement from the councils said.
Any agreement to form a combined authority would need to be ratified by each of the councils and be subject to local democratic processes. The final ‘devolution deal’, which the councils aim to put together over the coming months, would require Government approval.
Cllr Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “The creation of a combined authority is a great opportunity for the whole of Lancashire.
“The principle has been positively endorsed today by Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet.”
Cllr David Henderson, leader of Wyre Council and Cllr Alyson Barnes, leader of Rossendale Council and chair of the District Leaders Forum, added in a joint statement: “Councils in Lancashire are keen to work together for the benefit of all our residents and businesses across Lancashire.
“The interest in a combined authority for Lancashire stems from the ability to access greater Government funding to assist the growth of businesses and stimulate the economy.”
The full list of Lancashire councils that would form a combined authority are:
- Blackburn with Darwen Council
- Blackpool Council
- Burnley Council
- Chorley Council
- Fylde Council
- Hyndburn Council
- Lancashire County Council
- Lancaster City Council
- Pendle Council
- Preston City Council
- Ribble Valley Council
- Rossendale Council
- South Ribble Council
- West Lancashire Council
- Wyre Council