City Council Unanimously Support Combined Authority Resolution

IMG_0583 Combined Authority Debate 23-8-15

Leader of the Council leading the debate, watched by the Mayor.

Well tonight Mary, Rita and I attended the City Council.

The ‘big’ resolution on the Council Agenda was to support the West Midlands Combined Authority .

Approving the current drafting of the scheme and supporting the Governance review, plus

approving the delegation for the final approval of the Governance Review and Scheme to the Leader of the Council in consultation with the Managing Director.

The City Council was also asked to note the devolution deal progress – These were all passed unanimously.

The Conservatives , The Liberal Democrats, and UKIP all voted in favour.

There was a debate around the proposals and this was led by Leader of the Council, Councillor Roger Lawrence.

The Conservative Group accepted that the Combined Authority was an Authority that Wolverhampton should be part of. The Leader spoke about all the things it wasn’t.

What it doesn’t mean…

  • it won’t replace existing councils
  • there won’t be one new single authority
  • one local council won’t absorb the others and set the agenda
  • councillors in each authority will still be accountable to their electorate.

He emphasised that it was a new way for local councils to work together to promote transport, economic development and regeneration across the whole region. The new WMCA would receive –

  • local decision-making powers passed down by central government to our region
  • securing long-term funding and investment to help boost economic growth and employment opportunities
  • the chance to better plan those things that could be more effectively delivered across boundaries – like tourism, skills development and business support.
  • We would work with the LEP’s.

What it doesn’t mean…

  • it won’t replace existing councils
  • there won’t be one new single authority
  • one local council won’t absorb the others and set the agenda
  • councillors in each authority will still be accountable to their electorate.

 

Curiously the UKIP Leader Cllr Gwinett  when asking questions of the Leader of the Council, never once mentioned his Party by name, just prefaced every comment by saying “They”. So it was this kind of strange speak-

Not that “UKIP would like to know”, or “I would like to know”, Just “They would like to know!” Strange very strange!

It was like he just didn’t want to mention UKIP by name and after 4 minutes of this type of performance it left me scratching my head!

Still when the vote was taken the Mayor declared the Vote was ‘Unanimous’. Therefore for all the UKIP bluster about this Combined Authority, when push came to shove, there was no dissent, and I do think that is good! The whole Council is now set behind this Government scheme, for the attraction of more resources and more devolution from Whitehall.

But I am still left wondering whether Councillor Gwinett, Leader of UKIP in Wolverhampton, really does have his heart and mind firmly in that Party! I am not convinced that he is committed to their aims at all after tonight’s performance. Its that or the power of the Leaders oration, and the logic of his arguments or a combination of all of those items, persuaded UKIP not to Vote against the resolution and recommendations.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

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