County Council leader challenged to support devolution deal for Cumbria

A South Lakes councillor has urged the leader of Cumbria County Council to support a devolution deal for the county which would unlock hundreds of millions of pounds in new investment.

Councillor James Airey used today's Full Council meeting in Kendal to encourage the local authority's leader, Stewart Young, to back the re-start of negotiations on more local control for Cumbria which were abandoned by five of the county's seven local authorities in 2016.

Councillor James Airey, who is also the county council’s Conservative group leader, said: "A devolution deal will allow our area to have control over its future, and hundreds of millions of pounds of devolved funding for transport, housing, skills and health.

"I was encouraged today that Stewart Young didn't rule out getting back around the table to hammer out a devolution deal for our area but there needs to be much more urgency.

"The decision to walk away from a £300 million devolution deal in 2016 is costing South Lakeland millions of pounds in funding and holding up spending on vital infrastructure projects like the Kendal Northern Relief Route.

"Our local council leaders need to put the public interest ahead of any political self-interest and go back to the Government to renegotiate a devolution deal for our area."