Frequently asked questions

Devolution is the transfer of powers and funding from central government to local government.

It means that more important decisions can be taken as near as possible to the places they will affect.

Groups of councils in an area can reach an agreement with the government known as a 'devolution deal'.

If agreed, these groups gain more powers to make their own decisions on issues such as transport, skills, and support for business.

The government has set out four levels of devolution with different powers and functions for each level.

We have proposed a level 2 non mayoral combined county authority. This is known as a 'level 2 deal'.

Unlike some other regions such as Greater Manchester, the proposed devolution deal for Lancashire does not include the creation of a mayor. Instead, the combined county authority would be made up of existing elected councillors.

A combined county authority (CCA) is a legal body that enables a group of two or more upper tier councils to collaborate and take collective decisions across council boundaries.

The three upper tier councils that would be part of the combined county authority for the region are:

  • Lancashire County Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Council
  • Blackpool Council

Existing district councils, borough councils and other local organisations, would also have a voice.

The 12 district councils are:

  • Burnley Borough Council
  • Chorley Council
  • Fylde Borough Council
  • Hyndburn Borough Council
  • Lancaster City Council
  • Pendle Borough Council
  • Preston City Council
  • Ribble Valley Borough Council
  • Rossendale Borough Council
  • South Ribble Borough Council
  • West Lancashire Borough Council
  • Wyre Borough Council

If the devolution deal goes ahead, all local councils in Lancashire will continue to exist and have the same responsibilities they do now.

Local councils already work together in many ways. The proposed devolution will develop that partnership working further.

The costs of setting up the combined county authority (CCA) will be met through reserves from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and funding from the government.

The continuing costs of the combined county authority would need to be met from central government support or by the three constituent councils.

It will not mean a rise in Council Tax. In fact there is no option to add the cost of the CCA onto bills.

Some of the main reasons the three upper tier councils are backing devolution are:  

  • to address underfunding in Lancashire  
  • to focus spending on local priorities  
  • to work together across services and use local knowledge to get better value for money  
  • to bring in new investment, better training, and job opportunities, and upgraded and more connected public transport to the area  
  • to be more self-sufficient and have more responsibility for the future of the local area  
  • so that more major decisions can be taken locally  

This proposal will mean more of the decisions affecting our region will be made here, instead of London.

Locally elected politicians, who better understand local issues, will be making the decisions and can be held to account more easily.

By making decisions locally, we can reduce the bureaucracy involved in dealing with the government. We will be more self-sufficient and have more responsibility for the future of the local area.

The proposed deal will mean a chance of more funding for local services and savings from working together.

It would provide more financial certainty, through a guaranteed funding stream. There may also be future opportunities for further powers and funding to be devolved.

Lancashire has long been overlooked for government investment compared to areas like Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester. For example, the government policy to only devolve the Adult Education Budget to areas with a combined authority.

We would invest the funding in local priorities like:

  • better local transport
  • supporting businesses
  • encouraging growth
  • improving skills, housing and living standards
  • tackling climate change

We're concentrating on areas where greater investment and local decision making would benefit the entire region. These are:

  • innovation
  • trade and investment
  • skills
  • transport
  • net zero and climate change
  • digital and cyber
  • culture and tourism
  • housing and land

Proposed devolved functions and powers of the combined county authority would include:  

  • economic development and regeneration functions 
  • new powers to better shape local skills provisions to ensure these meet the needs of the local economy  
  • new powers to improve and better co-ordinate and integrate local transport
  • compulsory purchase powers (subject to the consent of the local planning authority affected by the exercise of the function)  
  • the duty to set a budget for the combined county authority  
  • duty to prepare an economic assessment of the proposed combined county authority area 
  • duty to review air quality plans and support the delivery of those plans by districts councils
  • incidental powers in relation to its functions (the power to do anything which is incidental to the exercise of its functions)

In June 2023 the leaders of the three upper tier councils signed up to work on a devolution proposal with the government.

In November 2023, the government announced it was willing to enter into a devolution deal with Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.

Each council then formally considered the draft proposal and voted to go ahead with a consultation.

The devolution proposal is subject to the outcome of this consultation, and still needs to be formally agreed by central government.

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