Joining forces will help all of us get power

Cllr Donna Jones
Cllr Donna Jones

Portsmouth Lib Dem leader demands an apology as licensing row deepens

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THE leader of Portsmouth City Council has spoken about the benefits of authorities working together to seize powers from central government.

Donna Jones spoke positively about council officials from across the area joining in future to have more influence over local decisions and control over the way money is spent.

But she reiterated there are no plans for a ‘Solent City’ to represent the region – the merger of Portsmouth and Southampton’s authorities.

Cllr Jones said there should be no concern about the effect combined working could have on councils, as they would stay as they are and keep the same responsibilities.

In a video released by the city council, she said: ‘It isn’t about changing the feel and face of councils as they are at the moment.

‘It’s about people sitting around a table from the five or six authorities that would make decisions about strategic planning.

‘This would mean we would have more influence and power that we would have been passed down from central government to us here.

‘And secondly, there will be no Solent City.

‘I want to say that is completely false.

‘Portsmouth city would remain as it is, as would Southampton, there is no merger (and no plans) to bring them into one.’

It comes after Cllr Jones and Cllr Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council, said in a joint statement the two authorities were ‘very supportive’ of the opportunity that a combined authority would offer the economic development of the Solent area.

Cllr Jones recently attended a meeting of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire in Fareham to discuss more the combined authority agenda and how it could help bid for money for transport schemes including new motorway junctions.