Council chief rubbishes talk of ‘super authority’ but confirms alliance talks

Lincolnshire County Council
Lincolnshire County Council

Four county councils in the East Midlands are currently exploring plans to share services, have powers devolved from Westminster and encourage government investment in the region, but all this will not involve the creation of a so-called ‘super council’.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill confirmed there were no plans for a super authority but said that he and his colleagues at the Conservative-controlled Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire county councils were seeing how they could work more closely together for the benefit of residents in the region.

A closer partnership, dubbed a ‘Strategic Alliance’, would also need the cooperation of the Labour city councils in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester and could see them submit funding bids to government for major transport improvements on roads such as the A46, which cuts through the Midlands.

Councillor Hill said the East Midlands needed to put its case more effectively to government to ensure that it did not miss out on investment heading to the West Midlands, but that this was not a way of attempting to compete with the combined authority set up there in 2016.

He said: “Well I don’t think there are any plans for a super authority at all.

“What we’re actually doing is exploring activities where we can work together as county councils to see where we can potentially share services or indeed ask government to devolve some services down to the four councils.

“I’m certainly not in the place of trying to build a ‘super’ council.

“I don’t believe in regional government but I do believe in working with similar councils for the benefit of the residents of that area.

“The East Midlands is not doing very well in terms of government investment and we really want to make the case to government in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that this time the East Midlands needs to have a fair crack of the whip when government is allocating resources nationally.”