Burnley Council moves to safeguard itself in any combined authority plan

Burnley councillors have debated proposals to create a combined authority across Lancashire with a directly elected mayor.
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Councillors from all parties agreed that any decision to establish a combined authority, as part of central Government plans to devolve more powers from Westminster to the regions, would need the agreement of all the local authorities in Lancashire.

Amendments to the original motion, put forward by the opposition Labour group, were agreed after a debate.

The amended motion included agreement that:

Burnley Town HallBurnley Town Hall
Burnley Town Hall
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The council approves that, after the Government's English Devolution White Paper has been published, the council should work with all 14 other Lancashire councils to explore a Lancashire combined authority with a directly elected Mayor, with limited powers;

A report be brought to a future full council for further consideration on the results of the work and any associated options;

The council rejects any form of local government reorganisation, or simplification, as a condition for the establishment of a combined authority.

Council leader Coun. Charlie Briggs said: "There is still much to be discussed and debated before any final decision is arrived at on any possible Combined Authority for Lancashire. The Government’s Devolution White Paper is due out in September 2020 and we will read it with interest to understand the Government’s requirements for any combined authority."

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Coun. Mark Townsend, leader of the Labour group, said: "We feel we need to fully understand the Government’s position on devolution before we consider any options and also be clear about the safeguards the council will require to move this forward.“