South Lakes council urged to drop opposition to devolution deal and extra investment

South Lakeland District Council has been urged to find ‘the political courage’ to drop its opposition to a devolution deal for Cumbria that would unlock millions of pounds in extra investment for the area.

The call was made by councillor Tom Harvey at tonight's (10 October) meeting of the South Lakes local authority. In 2016 South Lakeland District Council was one of five local authorities to reject a £300 million deal for Cumbria that would have transferred extra power and responsibility locally.

Councillor Harvey, who is also the Conservative group’s deputy leader on South Lakeland District Council, used tonight’s full council meeting in Kendal to call on the council’s leadership to back the re-start of negotiations in order to secure hundreds of millions of pounds of devolved funding for transport, housing, skills and health to Cumbria.

In response the council’s leader, Giles Archibald, said he would write to councillor Harvey with an answer.

Councillor Tom Harvey said: “The decision to walk away from a £300 million devolution deal in 2016 is costing South Lakeland millions of pounds in funding.

“Last month, Cumbria County Council said it was open to getting back around the table to hammer out a devolution deal that will unlock this funding.

“South Lakeland District Council has an opportunity to put people before any political self-interest by supporting such a move and I hope they will now reconsider their previous opposition to this important change for our area.”