More power for Greater Essex says leader

Politics / Thu 3rd Dec 2015 at 05:04pm

DEVOLUTION is a once in a lifetime opportunity to give local people more say on the issues that affect them, Essex County Council Leader David Finch has said.

Speaking on the importance of devolution at a top national conference in Manchester, Cllr Finch called for more powers from Government for Essex, but stressed the importance of ensuring the public are at the heart of any deal.

Cllr Finch said: “The more power in the hands of local people the better. For too long, key decisions that impact the people of Essex have been taken in Westminster and Whitehall.

“Devolution is rightly high on the Government’s agenda and offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to get power to where it really matters locally. But we must ensure that this is done in the best interest of our communities, and we continue to ask the ‘what’s in it for me’ question.

“People don’t care about processes and structures, but they do care about their local area and having a stronger say over their future.

“Shifting decision making away from Whitehall to Town Hall means stronger local accountability and democracy, but this shouldn’t be done behind closed doors. The process must be open and transparent and the public must support it. Any deal has got to be in the best interest of us all, and cannot simply be a cost shifting exercise.”

Leaders from across the 15 local authorities in Greater Essex are meeting this week, and are working towards submitting a proposal to Government in the coming weeks, with a view to signing a formal deal next year.

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