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PORTSMOUTH COUNCIL APPROVES COMBINED AUTHORITY PLANS

portsmouthsouthamptonisleofwightcouncillogosPlans for a Solent Combined Authority took a big step forward as Portsmouth today (Wednesday) became the first council to agree to be part of a formal application to form the new organisation.

The decision to apply to government for the creation of a combined authority was taken at a special meeting of Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet following discussion of the proposals at yesterday’s full council meeting.

Southampton City Council and the Isle of Wight Council both have similar meetings scheduled in the next 2 weeks to decide if they also wish to progress the plans. If all three councils agree, an application will be submitted to government.

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Portsmouth City Council’s decision 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 Isle of Wight Council, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership working closer together.

Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said:

“I am delighted that we have 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. I am confident councils in Southampton and the Isle of Wight will follow suit in the coming weeks and look forward to formally submitting our application to 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.”

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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, 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.

Both Southampton and the Isle of Wight will discuss the plans at full council meetings taking place on 19th October. Southampton’s Cabinet will meet straight after their full council meeting to make its decision while the Isle of Wight Cabinet will meet on 24th October.

For more information visit www.solentdeal.co.uk.

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