Solent devolution deal 'highly unlikely'

By William Eichler | 27 January 2017

Opposition from Hampshire CC has made a Solent combined authority ‘highly unlikely,’ the leader of Portsmouth City Council has admitted.

The proposed deal, including Portsmouth, Southampton, Isle of Wight, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Eastleigh and East Hampshire, could have brought £1bn of government investment to the region.

Portsmouth leader Donna Jones said: ‘Hampshire CC was the only remaining partner in the Solent that refused to support the deal.

‘Because of this, and following yesterday’s meeting with the Hampshire MPs, it now looks highly unlikely that the current deal will go ahead.’

Hampshire leader Cllr Roy Perry has maintained that a Solent deal made ‘no economic sense’.

He said: ‘The Solent bid would not help the local economy. 

‘It would do it harm by isolating the area from the economic resources of the wider county as well as forcing the dismantling of vital county services – now and in the future.’

The collapse of the devolution deal puts reorganisation back on the agenda but councils also disagree about the form this should take.

Cllr Perry added: ‘I am calling on my fellow leaders to call a halt, knowing that nothing will now be forthcoming from central government for the time being at least, and let us get back around the table in the interests of all of our communities.’

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