Combined authority decision will be a long-lasting one, leader of Lichfield District Council warns

The decision on whether or not to join a West Midlands combined authority will be a long-lasting one, the leader of Lichfield District Council has warned.

Lichfield District Council's offices. Pic: Lichfield District Council

Lichfield District Council’s offices. Pic: Lichfield District Council

A special meeting of the local authority has been called for October 13 where councillors will make a final decision on the move.

Opposition Labour group leader Sue Woodward has already suggested the joining is a “no-brainer”, while other councils have already said they intend to join.

But Lichfield District Council’s Conservative leader Mike Wilcox insists he’s prepared to wait until the “11th hour” before making a final decision.

“We’re going to have to make a decision either way so the Government can put the make-up of the West Midlands combined authority into the Autumn statement,” he said. “Once members have signed up there will then be a public consultation in the autumn

“We know Tamworth and Cannock have decided to join, but I want to leave it until the last possible moment so we can get as much information from the Government as possible. It’s important that we find out exactly what the implications and benefits are for Lichfield and Burntwood.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

“There’s no problem with us going right to the 11th hour if we need to.”

But with the final decision looming, Cllr Wilcox revealed that any U-Turn would not be easy.

“The situation changes constantly,” he admitted. “That’s why we need to leave it as long as we can to give ourselves the best chance of making the right decision.

“Once we’ve made a decision it will be in place for some years.

“Our understanding is that if you want to leave the combined authority then the Government will need to have another Bill and another public consultation. It’s very much that you’re either in or you’re not.

“That’s why we need to make sure we’re armed with all the information necessary for decision day on the October 13.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

7 Comments

  1. Interested Citizen

    10th October, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    The Council Leader seems to be vague about the factors being considered by the Councillors on 13 October. What are the pro’s and cons of joining a Combined Authority? Will Lichfield become an official suburb of Birmingham or will the city benefit from extra investment? Can the electorate please have the facts?

  2. FiveSpiresLive

    10th October, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    The briefing notes for councillors are available here
    https://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/Council/Meetings-committees-and-papers/FullCouncil/2015/10/13/FullCouncil13-Oct-2015.aspx

    It’s basically a leap in the dark but a leap in the right direction.

    Unless you’re PCC Matthew Ellis, but if he’s gearing up for WMCA mayor ….

  3. Thornton

    12th October, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Lichfield will remain Lichfield. Combined authority simply means the whole area will be able to have a say in how money is spent.

  4. nomad

    12th October, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    What concerns myself is that combinedCombined authorities are encouraged to borrow from European institutions for social and environmental schemes which meet EU objectives. Loans are made with conditions attached which further EU policies. By 2015 Greater Manchester CA had agreed loans from the European Investment Bank which topped £1 billion[4] with similar liabilities to the Treasury and private business.
    Another concern should be,The Coalition Government introduced “carrot and stick” measures to devolve power to the regions and implement “Europe 2020” strategy. The Localism Act 2011 was passed. Part 2 gives the European Commission powers to fine local and regional authorities for non-compliance with EU policies and objectives. Just saying they should proceed with an air of caution

  5. Rob

    13th October, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    Only labour extremists would want to lump a reasonable area like Lichfield in with this lot:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-34517894
    they seem equally chaotic at local level as Corbyn and co are in Westminster.
    Although the leadership contest is over the comedy goes on!

  6. Sue woodward

    13th October, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    Clearly, Rob has never attended a Lichfield District Council meeting and simply allows his party political prejudices to blind him to the constructive and responsible work that opposition councillors do.

  7. Rob

    13th October, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Thank goodness you never succumb to the party political prejudices effect yourself.