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Combined Authority – Cabinet Minute No 45 3:37
Joe Blott, Strategic Director for Transformation and Resources told the Coordinating Committee that the matter was referred to them by Wirral Council’s Cabinet decision of the 8th August 2013. The issue was the subject of a consultation in Wirral and the other authorities. He went into the detail of the Cabinet report of the 8th August 2013, along with appendices 1 (Strategic Governance Review Draft), 2 (Appendix 2 Potential Role for a LCR Combined Authority) and 3 (Draft Scheme for the Establishment of a Combined Authority for LCR) .
He referred to an upcoming City Region Cabinet meeting, the Council meeting of the 19th September and a deadline of the 30th September 2013 for a submission to central government. Cllr Wittingham asked if there were any questions?
Cllr Abbey referred to the timescale having been moved back from July to September, but it would give them access to “major funding”. He referred to Lord Heseltine’s work on devolving government budgets.
Cllr Fraser asked for clarification on the cost implications of the Combined Authority. Cllr Clements asked if it was neutral in cost?
Joe Blott said the Coordinating Committee wasn’t the decision-making committee for it, but as they would be combining six existing processes hopefully they would create efficiencies.
Cllr Brighouse referred to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and incorrectly labelled Wirral Council as a separate transport authority.
Joe Blott said that Halton was a transport authority, Cllr Foulkes said that Cllr Brighouse’s statement that Wirral Council was a transport authority was not factual. Cllr Ron Abbey said that Wirral Council was a highways authority, not a transport authority. Joe Blott said that Wirral Council was a highways authority and not a transport authority.
He went on to say that the new arrangements would be more open and transparent than existing arrangements with the potential for greater decision-making and influence on the City Region.
Cllr Elderton asked about the statutory powers of a combined authority and whether this would lead to increased costs for Wirral Council? He wanted assurances that that wouldn’t happen.
Joe Blott said that if it existed it would have responsibility for regeneration projects, which may lead to the employment of specialist people or specialist contracts. Cllr Elderton asked for noting of his concerns.
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