'˜There was an awful lot of money and power for Lincolnshire last time round' - Boston and Skegness MP explains why he set up devolution meetings

The MP for Boston and Skegness said that he set up a meeting between the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the county's council leaders to see if there was a way to 'rejuvenate' the Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal.

Leaders across the region had informal discussions with the department regarding the issue.

Conservative MP Matt Warman organised the meeting with department minister James Brokenshire MP following the region’s decision in 2016 to reject a previous deal.

But he said that there had been “an awful lot of money” on the table last time to not revisit the issue again.

He said: “I’ve convened this meeting with the current minister to say: ‘Look as far as I’m concerned there was an awful lot of money and power for Lincolnshire last time round’.

“For a number of reasons it didn’t end up proceeding, I think at the very least we need to understand if there is a way of rejuvenating that process.”

Mr Warman added that if there does not end up being a way of reigniting the deal then the leaders need to leave “no stone unturned.”

It comes as the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, said that there is an appetite for more devolution without an elected mayor in the region.

Meanwhile, North Lincolnshire Council leader, Rob Waltham, said that authority leaders across the county need to know what they want to achieve from another county wide bid.

“I think its about being broad and having a positive discussion about what the options are,” he said.

“What do we want it to do first of all, my view is very much around what do we want to achieve from devolution in Lincolnshire.

“I think if you get that right then everything else from a governance perspective will fall into play.”

He added that the region needs to look at other areas of the country where combined authorities have been set up and “think carefully” about what that means for Lincolnshire.

But North East Lincolnshire Council leader, Ray Oxby, previously said that “it would be too early” to tell whether or not residents in the region would support another devolution bid.

The county council and South Kesteven District Council previously rejected a devolution offer of £450 million back in 2016.

Further meetings are planned between council leaders on the matter.

Two years ago, the Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal was rejected over fears that an elected mayor would have created more bureaucracy.

The deal on offer would have created a new combined authority with a directly elected mayor.

The new authority would also have received £15 million a year for the next 30 years for infrastructure projects.

Calvin Robinson , Local Democracy Reporting Service