It gave me great pleasure to announce recently that a deal to deliver devolution for our area had been provisionally agreed.
I use the word ‘provisionally’ because although the deal has been signed by all of Greater Lincolnshire’s council Leaders, all of us will now be formally asking our councils to ratify the decision later this month.
Assuming everyone agrees, then it’s fantastic news for the people and businesses of South Holland.
That’s because we will be able to take decisions about how to spend government money for growth and prosperity - decisions that are presently taken for us in London.
Our deal sees South Holland District Council join with nine other local authorities from the Humber to the Wash to form a new ‘Greater Lincolnshire’ Combined Authority.
This will take charge of all of the new powers being passed from Westminster, leaving existing councils like South Holland to continue to do what they do at the moment.
The new combined authority will have its own directly elected mayor, who will lead a cabinet made up of the leaders of the ten councils.
The deal could boost the area’s economy by £8bn, create 29,000 jobs and provide 100,000 new homes.
Greater Lincolnshire will additionally receive £15 million a year, for the next 30 years to support key infrastructure projects selected by the new Greater Lincolnshire Combined Authority.
We will also take control of government money that pays for skills and further education, enabling us to better match training to the needs of employers.
We expect that additional responsibilities will follow, so this is only the beginning!
We are committed to helping the South Holland economy to develop and thrive and that’s why I believe devolution will be a significant positive step.
In terms of what happens next, we should have a formal proposition to put before all of South Holland’s councillors very soon.
If it is approved there will then be a chance for you to have your say during a public consultation in the summer and assuming there is general agreement, elections for the new mayor are planned for 2017.