Preston gives support to combined authority plan

Combined authority: The council debated the proposals at Preston Town Hall
Combined authority: The council debated the proposals at Preston Town Hall
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Leaders in Preston have agreed to push forward with plans for the city to join a combined authority.

Councillors voted to agree in principle to the council becoming a member of a combined authority for Lancashire, hoped to help the county “punch its weight” on the national stage.

Preston Council was the latest authority to debate the proposals at a meeting this week.

Leader Peter Rankin said: “Of the 15 authorities (in Lancashire), seven have already now agreed to take part in the combined authority, one has not for the time being. I would move that we accept this report, note its contents and agree to join the combined authority with other Lancashire authorities that are doing so.”

Coun Neil Cartwright, leader of Preston Council’s Conservative group, said: “We fully support this city council going forward with the combined authority. It is the only show in town.”
He said it was important “if we want to punch our weight”, and said: “We are the premiere city borough in Lancashire, our place is right at the forefront of it.”

All councillors, except one, voted in favour of the proposals, which include plans for the council to take part in a public consultation in the new year, to seek views on the formation of a combined authority.

A report said: “A combined authority provides an opportunity for Preston Council to extend its influence on matters that are of importance to its citizens. Examples are transport, which is a county council responsibility, and on how funds allocated to the Local Enterprise Partnership are allocated. If Lancashire is to pursue devolution from central government it will be necessary to have a combined authority in place.”