​Lincolnshire's devolution deal on hold until after election results

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​Greater Lincolnshire’s much-discussed devolution deal is “ready to go” — but on hold. That’s until a new parliament is after the post-general election, the leader of the county council has confirmed.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said that approval was not given by central government in time — and will now have to wait until after the July 4 election.

The region has been working on a new combined mayoral authority for Greater Lincolnshire for years, which would see Lincolnshire County Council, North and North East Lincolnshire Councils come together under one directly elected mayor for the area.

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The devolution deal was announced in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement last year, pledging a £24 million annual budget for the combined mayoral authority for three decades, with spending decisions made in conjunction with local councils.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County CouncilCoun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council
Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council

The devolution would, in theory, transfer power and funds from central to local government and allow those elected to represent their given areas more control over decisions — but critics argue it is just an additional layer of bureaucracy within local government.

A business case has since been presented to central government and it was hoped that this would be agreed at some point in 2024 — but a general election-shaped elephant has marched into the room.

With parliament dissolving ahead of the July 4 election, the handbrake has been slammed on a final decision on Greater Lincolnshire’s devolution deal.

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Coun Martin Hill said the deal is “ready to go” and will hopefully be top of the pile on the desk of whichever government reigns supreme at the general election.

He said: “The devolution deal is ready to go but wasn’t able to be part of the government sweep up before dissolution.

“So it will be ready for the new minister when parliament reconvenes.”

Plans for a local election for a new mayor of Greater Lincolnshire for May 2025, the clock will be ticking for a new government to process the deal and get it back to the county in time — particularly with Lincolnshire County Council elections scheduled to take place next year also.