Eve of decision report reveals some combined authority risks are still unknown

Some of the risks of joining a West Midlands combined authority will not be known when councillors make a final decision, a report has revealed.

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

The offices of Lichfield District Council. Pic: Lichfield District Council

A special meeting of Lichfield District Council will take place tomorrow (October 13) to decide if the area will sign up to the link-up.

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

But in a report to that meeting, the local authority’s leader Mike Wilcox admits that some risks may have to be taken if an agreement is reached.

“We are being asked to decide at a time when much is still unknown,” he said. “There are therefore risks which cannot be quantified.

“There may be unknown and unintended implications that we are not yet aware of that could negatively impact on our communities or our public sector partners.”

The report also reveals that an initial £10,000 contribution will need to be made for 2015/16 should Lichfield District Council join the West Midlands combined authority.

It is estimated that the following year could see that contribution rise to £25,000.

But Cllr Wilcox’s review of the deal highlights areas where a link-up could benefit Lichfield and Burntwood.

“The combined authority presents opportunity for local decision making and local control to make the investment and changes needed to lead to more prosperous and skilled communities with better life opportunities,” he said. “This is the basic premise of government policy on devolution and is based on evidence from other areas.

“Our area and our businesses and communities could potentially benefit from the devolution deal.

“There is a clear desire from the Metropolitan Councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships and districts to be directly involved in decision making. This will mean we have a voice around the table and can influence the growth and investment across the region as well as in our own area, and will play an active part in strategic decision making on behalf of our communities.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.