On Wednesday 14 September at 7.30pm in the Council Chamber at the Portsmouth Guildhall residents will get a chance quiz the Leader of the Council and have their say on the proposed Solent Deal which aims to create a new Mayoral authority for the Solent area.
The new deal plans to create a combined authority where the councils of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight work together to promote prosperity over the whole Solent area.
By cooperating on issues like transport and housing, which affect the whole of the Solent, it’s hoped that they can be tackled more effectively.
The creation of a combined authority would also free up access to crucial government funds and powers. £30 million each year for 30 years would be supplied by central government to be invested into the area. The £900 million total that would be made available over the 30 years could be key to fixing some of the area’s major long term issues such as lack of housing and poor transport links.
However there have been concerns raised over the proposed deal.
Some may argue that the creation of new posts, including an elected mayor and two other statutory positions, would create extra bureaucracy costs. Others believe the economic benefits of a combined authority would far outweigh these.
A new directly elected Mayor is also seen by others as unnecessary, and there are fears that it could over-politicise local politics. Unfortunately the Government has made it clear during discussions that the only way to access the new powers and funds is by the creation of a Mayoral Combined Authority. Therefore some local political leaders see the elected mayor as a necessity to improving the future of Portsmouth.
Cllr Stephen Morgan, Labour’s deputy group leader said:
“The formal public consultation on this important proposal for the future of our great city ends on 18 September.
As well as a survey, the meeting this Wednesday allows the opportunity to put your questions directly to the Leader of the Council who has been working with other political leaders in the respective authorities on the deal being struck with central government.
Be sure to have your voice heard”.
More information on the proposals and how you can have your say can be found at http://www.solentdeal.co.uk