Government '˜to announce plan for joint mayor for Portsmouth and Southampton'

Southampton's leading councillor says the government is set to announce plans for a mayor for the city and Portsmouth.

Monday, 14th March 2016, 1:48 pm
Updated Monday, 14th March 2016, 1:54 pm
Cllr Simon Letts, the leader of Southampton City Council PPP-151125-121915001

Cllr Simon Letts says that the announcement will be made as part of the Chancellor’s Budget statement this week.

He told the BBC that plans by the cities to restructure had been agreed by Whitehall and would be confirmed by George Osborne.

The mayoral role, set to be a publicly elected position, would have control over a range of measures currently decided by the government - such as housing numbers and transport - across a huge swathe of southern Hampshire from Petersfield to Eastleigh, including Portsmouth and Southampton.

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It’s part of the ‘Solent Combined Authority’ devolution deal which local leaders have been working on with the Treasury. This is how it would work.

It comes after Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry wrote to MPs urging them to step in and veto the plans, as he is calling for a Hampshire-wide deal taking in the Isle of Wight.

Speaking to The News, Cllr Letts, Southampton City Council leader, said: ‘It’s about co-operation and working out what is best for the area.

‘It’s about bringing resources currently in Whitehall down to the region.

‘I can’t say a lot at the moment as it’s part of the budget. It will be included in the budget speech and more details will be released soon after.’

Provided the proposal is approved, these would be given instead to an elected official similar to the way in which the Mayor of London makes major decisions in the capital.