Portsmouth people will have say on combined authority plans

THE people of Portsmouth will be given the chance to have their say on plans that could see the city form part of a '˜Solent Combined Authority'.

Saturday, 9th July 2016, 6:05 am
A consultation will be held over plans for a Solent combined authority

A consultation will be held this summer for people to comment on Portsmouth City Council’s scheme.

The proposal will put forward the council’s plans to join Southampton City Council and the Isle of Wight Council to form a combined local authority.

It will show the strengths of the idea and the affects it will have on a number of economic factors, including transport, employment, skills and education and housing.

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The review will list any weaknesses of the proposed authority and how the council is hoping to overcome them.

Leader of the council Donna Jones said: ‘People in the city need to be happy with what’s happening.

‘The final scheme that will go to the Secretary of State will include comments made in the public consultation and it would have gone before the full council.’

She added: ‘Securing new powers and funding from government is essential for ensuring the prosperity of our region for years to come.

‘It will mean better jobs, better homes and all round better outcomes for our residents.’

As previously reported in The News, city Liberal Democrat leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said that a referendum should be held on the combined authority.

At yesterday’s cabinet meeting, he said: ‘I think the combined authority is a good idea and will benefit Portsmouth.

‘The decision should include as many people as possible.

‘It is really important that we take people with us on this decision.’

Councillor Luke Stubbs, deputy council leader, said a referendum would be expensive for the authority and the consultation process would give people the chance to give their thoughts.

It is expected that central government would give a Solent Combined Authority control of approximately £30m of 
additional funding per year for the next 30 years to improve the infrastructure 
in South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

This will allow decisions to be made locally rather than in Westminster.

And the deal would enable all of the business rates generated in the area to be retained locally, leading to better control of its financial future.