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Local powers for greater good for Greater Lincolnshire

More powers may be on their way from Government to Boston Borough Council.

The council has joined with all others in the county to submit a bid for devolved powers.

The "expression of interest" from councils in Greater Lincolnshire has been submitted to the Government which has ambitious plans to hand down more local power and responsibility.

The proposal asks for a range of the Government's powers and associated funding to be given directly to be devolved locally to set priorities and make spending decisions in order to improve quality of life and prospects for greater prosperity in Greater Lincolnshire.

The organisations involved believe the services and programmes concerned would be run more efficiently and achieve better outcomes for Greater Lincolnshire residents than the present nationally-run arrangements deliver to the area.

Each organisation would retain their current responsibilities and powers, but would work together to meet any new powers agreed with Government. The proposal document invites the Government to enter into discussions about these additional powers and the arrangements that would be necessary to operate them.

The expression of interest focuses on the benefits of this approach including:

=  Accelerating economic growth;

=  Improving transport links regionally, nationally and internationally;

=  Tailoring skills to the needs of local employers to boost employment opportunities in the county;

=  Managing flood risk;

=  Meeting the housing needs of all our residents;

=  Joining up health and care services to improve people's health and wellbeing.

Leader of Boston Borough Council, Cllr Peter Bedford, said: "This is hopefully a fantastic opportunity for Greater Lincolnshire. It brings together ten equal partners from local government and others working in collaboration and not in an adversarial way. It is a true partnership approach. It is not about local government re-organisation it's about exploiting opportunities and meeting challenges. It is not a binding process as the situation is fluid and subject to change. The expression of interest is a prime opportunity for all of the councils in Greater Lincolnshire to establish an effective and credible partnership to have a greater influence on making things the best they can be for Greater Lincolnshire."

The new Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark, has made it clear that he is supportive of devolving powers currently held by Government to local areas. Areas such as Greater Manchester and Cornwall have already been successful in their approach to Government for devolved powers, and locally Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Sheffield are all talking to the Government.