Winchester City Council joins bid for more devolved powers

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FIFTEEN councils across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will propose a Hampshire-wide devolution deal to the government.

Winchester City Council, which covers Denmead, Whiteley and Bishop’s Waltham, is the latest to join the bid, with its leader Stephen Godfrey agreeing to ‘look carefully at the emerging ideas’.

It offers potentially enormous benefits to residents, businesses, local authorities and government in how public services are run and transformed.

Winchester City Council leader Stephen Godfrey

Cllr Godfrey said: ‘It offers potentially enormous benefits to residents, businesses, local authorities and government in how public services are run and transformed.’

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association agreed on June 19 to support a proposal covering Hampshire County Council, the 11 district councils and the unitary councils of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, as an area to develop devolution.

The councils will be inviting government to devolve powers and funding to allow greater local control over matters such as skills, transport, economy and infrastructure.

The councils expect the initiative will allow them to make savings through administrative efficiencies and economies across the public sector.

The proposal will be discussed by Winchester’s cabinet on July 6 and by council on July 15.