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L-R: Cllr Letts (Southampton), Cllr Letts (Portsmouth) and Cllr Bacon (Isle of Wight)

A formal application for a Solent Combined Authority is being submitted to government after all of the councils involved approved the plans.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Executive decided to progress the plans, following decisions from Portsmouth and Southampton councils.

It comes after a public consultation saw 71% of respondents stating they were in favour of moving power and funding for the economy, transport and jobs from central government to groups of local councils working together. The same proportion supported the idea of the three councils and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership working closer together.

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Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Sajid Javid, will receive the application and make a decision on whether to progress it. Should it go ahead the next step would be to agree the details of the proposal to be put before Parliament.

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:

“It is tremendous news that all three councils involved have now agreed to progress plans for a Solent Combined Authority. This is something that will deliver huge benefits for residents of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, and we can now begin the formal application process with government.

“The Solent Combined Authority would secure £30m a year every year for the next 30 years, so that’s £900m to spend on improving roads, helping create jobs and delivering good quality new homes. This is a really positive and exciting step forward for residents and businesses in South Hampshire which will give them better opportunities for years to come.”

Councillor Simon Letts, Leader of Southampton City Council said:

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“The next stage of the formal process for a Solent Combined Authority is now complete and we can look forward to making our formal application to the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government. A Solent Combined Authority will allow our ambitious plans for the Solent region to move forward as we take control of our own destiny by retaining future funding and decision-making powers.

“I believe the Solent Combined Authority will deliver real and positive change in the future for the residents of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. It will allow us to deliver our ambitions to have an increased number of skilled and better paid jobs, increased investment in the region, a reduced welfare bill, improved transport integration and more good quality new homes. These are exciting times for the residents and businesses of the Solent region”

Isle of Wight Council leader, Councillor Jonathan Bacon, said:

“This decision will mean the Isle of Wight Council can stay at the table as these discussions progress, with the involvement of the secretary of state. By taking this decision we are ensuring that every opportunity is examined and kept open as we endeavour to secure a long-term sustainable financial future for the council and the Island as a whole.”

The 3 Leaders have also written to Hampshire County Council Leader Cllr Roy Perry to repeat their offer for the authority to join the Solent Combined Authority as a full member.

The proposed authority would take on responsibility for services currently managed by central government and receive £900m of new funding over the next 30 years.

This will allow decisions to be made locally rather than in Westminster, with a focus on driving economic growth, skills, improving infrastructure and transport links and delivering homes in the region.

The combined authority would not replace any of the councils involved, each council would be an equal member and be represented on its board which could be led by a directly elected mayor.

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