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‘Don’t impose mayor on Cumbria’ South Lakes MP tells Government

February 5, 2020 3:05 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this afternoon, local MP Tim Farron warned ministers that any new devolution deal for Cumbria should not include having a single mayor in charge of the county.

It comes just days after ministers brought forward plans to replace Cumbria's county council and six district councils with two unitary councils under an elected mayor for the whole of Cumbria.

During a debate on Local Government Finance, Tim said: "I am fully supportive of the Government's plans to devolve power to the regions of England and indeed to local authorities.

"Does the minister agree though that if it is about local people making local decisions, then they shouldn't be forced to accept, for example a mayor or a particular type urban-type structure in a rural community in order to get those powers?"

In response Jake Berry said that it was his view that the "best way to truly empower local communities" is through having a "powerful, locally elected, singly-accountable individual".

Speaking afterwards, Tim said: "It's good news that the proposals brought forward by Government eliminate the possibility of a single unitary authority for the whole of Cumbria, which would've meant all local decisions being made in Carlisle.

"However, the insistence of having a single mayor for the entire county still raises the same issues of key local decisions being taken outside of South Lakeland.

"If local people are actually going to feel the benefits of devolution then we need to see decisions being made in our local towns and villages rather than by one person sat in an office at the other end of the county."