A combined authority will give Halton a stronger voice says council leader (From Runcorn and Widnes World)
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A combined authority will not threaten Halton's identity, stresses council leader
FORGING a combined authority with Liverpool City Region will not threaten Halton’s identity or independence, stressed council leader Rob Polhill.
Plans to create a combined authority between Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral and Merseytravel were submitted to the Government on Monday.
If approved, and legislation is passed in parliament, it could come into effect in April, 2014.
Halton council emphasises it would not create a ‘super council’, replace or merge councils, but enable authorities to work together on strategic economic development, transport, housing, employment and skills.
Clr Polhill said: “We are still Halton and wouldn’t give up our identity.
“This combined authority would give us a stronger voice to develop bigger projects and secure things like European funding.
“Sharing best practice and working in partnership is very important, especially these days with all the cuts.
“We already work very closely with these authorities. This would give us all an equal share as we sit around the table.
“We have got to explore all these opportunties. We are confident there will be strength in numbers and this will help us to support growth and secure more jobs.”
In a memo to Halton Council staff, chief executive David Parr said: “The combined authority will help us to signal to businesses and government that we are serious about working together.
“It is expected that it will also be able to attract devolved powers and funding from government.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with over 80 per cent of respondents supporting the proposals.”
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