Metro mayor and £1 billion devolution deal on offer for South Gloucestershire

May 31 2016

A CONTROVERSIAL decision on whether to sign up for a so-called metro mayor to cover South Gloucestershire and the rest of the former Avon area will be made later this month.

A CONTROVERSIAL decision on whether to sign up for a so-called metro mayor to cover South Gloucestershire and the rest of the former Avon area will be made later this month.
A devolution deal equating to more than £1 billion of investment has been proposed between the Government and the four unitary West of England councils that were created after Avon was scrapped.
Those councils now have to decide if they want to accept it. South Gloucestershire Council will meet on June 29 to make its decision and has urged people to find out more online at www.southglos.gov.uk/devolution and have their say.
But there has been criticism by Liberal Democrats on the council over what they claim is a limited consultation before the June meeting.
If it is agreed to accept the deal, there will then be further consultation during the summer.
Liberal Democrat leader, Ruth Davis, said: “For many years, this council has prided itself on its consultations.
 “This is an incredible offer coming our way and we need the public to be engaged. We could have launched a proper consultation when this was announced in the Budget.
“We don’t have time for that any more but at least we can publicise it better and make sure it’s linked to the consultation website where people are normally asked for their views.”
South Gloucestershire Council leader, Matthew Riddle, said the deal was a chance to get more investment in order to keep growing, provide services for residents and develop new infrastructure, skills and employment.
He said: “The deal would bring more money, powers and local decision-making to help us focus on the key priorities for the region, including transport, investment, funding, skills training, business support, housing and strategic planning.
“All of this will benefit South Gloucestershire as these issues are bigger than any single local authority boundary. But joint decisions will reflect local priorities.”
He claimed the deal on offer was among the best negotiated across the country but was conditional on the introduction of an elected metro mayor.