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Cabinet backs new devolution plan

West Oxfordshire District councillors have backed revised plans for a new devolution deal.

The new plan proposes the formation of a combined authority involving Oxfordshire’s district councils and County Council as well as key partners such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and Oxfordshire Growth Board.

Each council including the County will continue to operate as they do currently but the combined authority, which will include a directly elected mayor, will be responsible for strategic functions such as highways and transport, skills and infrastructure.

As a result, it is believed the new structure will unlock more funding streams from central government that would allow greater investment in major infrastructure projects across the county.

The devolution proposals are considered as taking precedence over plans to create a unitary authority which continues to be pursued by Oxfordshire County Council.

Cllr James Mills, leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Residents are not interested in what they perceive as local councils squabbling among themselves.

“What is important is delivering infrastructure and I believe devolution can do that.

“This would be the best possible outcome for all Oxfordshire residents – it is what we should be working towards.”

The proposals were agreed by West Oxfordshire District Council’s Cabinet and will be considered by full Council on 18 January.

Posted : 16/12/2016 21:04:32

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