Public consultation on the creation of a new West of England Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) – including how this combined authority would work and what it means – is now open. This follows the decision of Bristol City Council, along with Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) and South Gloucestershire councils, to move forward with a £1 billion devolution deal from Government.
The MCA would manage new powers, funding and responsibilities that would be handed from central Government to the region as part of the deal. As a result, more decisions could be made locally, rather than nationally, about spending on regional transport, housing and adult education and skills, for example.
The consultation will run from Monday 4 July 2016 until 15 August 2016 and is being run jointly by Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire councils.
The results will be considered by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who will take account of the views of the public when deciding whether the West of England devolution deal should go ahead. The deal will then be subject to final endorsement at a local level.
If it is agreed that the MCA should go ahead, it would be established in the first part of 2017, with elections for the position of West of England Mayor to take place across all three local government areas -; Bristol, B&NES and South Gloucestershire -; in May 2017.
Residents across the three areas are being asked to provide feedback on four key areas of the proposed devolution deal: Decision making, Place (transport and housing), People (adult education and skills), and Business.
How to have your say:
- Online: http://www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk
- Paper copies of the survey will be available from local libraries, Customer Service Points and One Stop Shops from 14 July, or by calling 0117 922 2848.
- Other formats such as braille are also available by calling 0117 922 2848.
- An audio version is available now on the website.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “I welcome Bristol City Council’s decision to move one step closer to a devolution deal which could see the region taking more control of its own destiny. Being part of this first deal would not only give us access to the £1 billion on offer, but would unlock future deals too.
“It is now for the public to have their say and I would urge everyone in the city to take part. In particular we are seeking the views of the public on the creation of a West of England Mayoral Combined Authority. It is a challenging topic, but we hope the process of consultation is an opportunity for people to get a better understanding of what is on offer and give their views on how it could work in the best interests of the people of Bristol. It is also our intention to work with others in the city including VOSCUR, Ujima Radio and BCFM to reach out to as many people as possible.
“The deal itself could give the city extra powers to help tackle a range of important issues including our ability to develop affordable housing, the access which people from disadvantaged backgrounds and minority communities have to apprenticeships and the range and accessibility of local rail services.”
For more information visit http://www.westofenglanddevolution.co.uk