Winchester joins bid for Hampshire-wide devolution

Press Release: 29/06/2015

Winchester City Council is joining the 14 other councils across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to propose a Hampshire-wide devolution deal to the Government.

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Local Government Association (HIOWLGA) unanimously agreed at its meeting on 19 June to support a proposal covering Hampshire County Council, the 11 district councils and the three unitary councils of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight as the basis for developing devolution for the area.

The Leader of the County Council, Cllr Roy Perry, has written to Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, saying the Councils will be preparing a devolution submission that will build on the strong partnership working that already exists across the area. Cllr Stephen Godfrey joined other Council Leaders in supporting this proposal.

This is not a new layer of government. The Councils will be inviting Government to devolve powers and funding to allow greater local control over matters such as skills, transport, economic prosperity, infrastructure and health and social care. Proposals will be built on the existing partnerships, powers and responsibilities of the local authorities and will be submitted to Government by the end of July 2015. It will not involve any change to local boundaries.
The councils expect the initiative will also allow them to make savings through administrative efficiencies and economies across the public sector.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

People will be aware of the national debate on devolution and proposals for other parts of the country such as Manchester. It’s just as important that people across Hampshire have a greater say in their future, and that’s why we want to put to Government a clear set of proposals that will benefit us all.

We have made no commitments yet, and will want to look very carefully at the detail of emerging ideas, but I hope we can work together to have a significant impact on the economic wellbeing of Winchester District residents and those living in the wider Hampshire area.

It offers potentially enormous benefits to local residents, local businesses, the local authorities and Government in how public services are run and transformed.

The proposal will be discussed by Winchester’s Cabinet on 6 July, and by Council on 15 July.