Louth Town Councillors slam ‘Greater Lincolnshire’ devolution proposal

The Sessions House in Eastgate - home to Louth Town Council. EMN-160719-094619001
The Sessions House in Eastgate - home to Louth Town Council. EMN-160719-094619001

Louth town councillors have condemned the plans for the proposed Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal.

The proposal would see elected councillors from 10 local authorities across the Greater Lincolnshire area, from the Humber to the Wash, become representatives on a new combined authority which would be chaired by a new directly-elected mayor.

The deal would see the area given £15 million a year over the next 30 years, and voting for the elected mayor could take place as early as May 2017.

At the town council’s meeting last Tuesday (July 12), Coun Dan Turner slammed the scheme as a “waste of money” and said that it was another level of government which was not needed.

He added: “I can see it devolving and then we’d end up losing district, county and even town councils which could be rolled up into some kind of unitary authority.”

Coun Turner concluded by saying that the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, is ‘not the biggest fan’ of devolution and that the plans could end up ‘on hold’.

Coun Jill Makinson-Sanders said the new mayor’s office would be “a quango on its own”, and added that it had been suggested that businesses should face a two per cent surcharge on their business rates to help fund it.

Coun Andrew Leonard said that the scheme was “another bit more of the gravy train system that just doesn’t need to be in place” and concluded that it was an “absolute waste of money.”

The matter was deferred until the next meeting, where councillors will give feedback and offer a formal response.