Liberal Democrats in South Gloucestershire have slammed the new ‘devo deal’ imposed by Government on the area.
Tories and Labour across the West forced South Gloucestershire into the agreement, where a single Mayor will make decisions covering a wide area of the west, without North Somerset.
Speaking against the proposal, Cllr Pat Hockey (Frampton Cotterell) said:
“I’m going to give a cry for democracy. This isn’t devolution! It’s a mixture of blackmail and prostitution. At least Avon was democratically elected. Who’s the Mayor going to be? It could be anyone. It could be a petrol-head saying no to any public transport. I’m passionate about public transport. When the Greater London Authority was abandoned, public transport there went back 10 years. It happened to us too.
“We are not getting powers, we’re losing them, we’re not gaining democracy it’s being taken away from us. What have we here? Take it or leave it. This is a duff deal! If it’s ‘the best in the country’, there are pretty duff deals and perhaps I should cry for the whole of the UK, not just South Gloucestershire.”
Cllr Mike Drew (Yate) said: “This money isn’t index linked, and no Government can bind its successors. We have no way to know what the next 30 years will bring – but we do know that any key issue involving North Somerset, we’re pretending things stop a few miles south of Bristol’s border. if it’s really a good deal, Government would be willing to work with us to bring North Somerset in. I’m not against a combined authority, but we need to take the time to get it right.”