The idea of a combined authority is twofold: to make decision making more responsive to local circumstances and to save the money.
Despite being the butt of many jokes – some of them justified - local government is in fact a good deal more efficient than central government.
By being closer to people, councils are more responsive and less wasteful than Westminster.
There is huge waste in the National Health Service, the Ministry of Defence and indeed all departments, but little gets reported about any of it and so the perceptions do not match reality.
In principle at least a Combined Authority could save money for the taxpayer and make it easier for councils to manage on declining budgets (Portsmouth City Council will have to shrink by about eight per cent a year over each of the next three years).
Were there some local management of other services, they could be better integrated leading to lower costs for all.
A couple of quick examples: health education – England spends £192m a year. Were that budget to be controlled in Hampshire then it could be aligned with the training of social care workers; the MoD owns more land than it requires and this could be better used and helping the long-term unemployed find work could be better delivered by taking greater advantage of local connections to the third sector to provide work experience and support.
In short, there are very many things that could be done better.
Cllr Luke Stubbs
(Cons, Portsmouth City Council)
South Parade, Southsea