An online UK Government and Parliament petition has been launched today calling for a referendum “on whether or not we want a Solent Combined Authority”.
The Isle of Wight council are pressing ahead with combined authority proposals with Portsmouth and Southampton and agreed at their July Executive meeting that the Solent Devolution is in ‘best interests of the Isle of Wight’.
The local authorities say Solent Devolution should give them greater powers to make strategic decisions at a local level.
Bad timing for consultation
Southsea resident Blair Breton is concerned about the timing of the Solent Deal consultation, arguing that “little account” has been taken of the “need for accessibility for those with disabilities”.
The petition reads:
The local authorities of these areas are proposing sweeping changes to the way local government works. This will result in the creation of a new Solent Combined Authority headed by an Elected Mayor.
An online consultation began on 22nd July 2016 with little account taken of the need for accessibility for those with disabilities.
We note with concern that this consultation started during the busy summer holiday period when many people are away or otherwise occupied.
This is a matter of considerable concern for residents of Portsmouth, Southampton and the IOW.
It also disenfranchises many students who study in the two cities and on the Island, but may be away during the summer.
At 10,000 signatures, government will respond to this petition. At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament
It’s worth noting that even if the three authorities decide to vote against the Solent Devolution plans, the government has the power to force it upon them regardless.
If the combined authority goes ahead, the Isle of Wight will have to negotiate a share (with Southampton and Portsmouth) of the £30m per annum being offered over the next 30 years.
IWC already agree referendum
At the June full council meeting, the Isle of Wight council voted in favour of holding a referendum on the issue of devolution.
The minutes read,
THAT Council agrees that a referendum of Islanders will be held on any agreed or imposed devolution deal with Hampshire local authorities, once the details are known – particularly the financial redistribution and governance elements.
Reference to full council motion added.
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