Consultation for West of England devolution model closes

Of those surveyed about the planned West of England devolution deal, only 55 per cent agreed that the plans would benefit the region.

The consultation, which received 2,011 responses, confirmed just 55 per cent of participants said that West of England Mayoral Combined Authority (MCA) would be the best way forward.

34 per cent of those surveyed did not agree with this model, while nine per cent said they did not know and two per cent did not answer.

Last month, councils, including Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, voted in favour of putting the deal forward for public consultation. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees argued that the package contained ‘the potential to unblock a billion pounds of funding’ within the areas of ‘housing, transport and skills’.

The deal, first unveiled during this year’s Spring Budget by former chancellor George Osborne, is with £1 billion.

If proposals go ahead, the MCA would be established early in 2017, with elections for the position of mayor to take place across all three local government areas in May. If Communities Secretary Sajid Javid deems that the deal should go ahead, each council will be asked to endorsed his decision around October. At that time, the three local authorities will 'independently come to a balanced view about what will be best for their areas'.