Leaders ask local MPs to support increase in power at district level

Published Thursday 17 August 2023

District and borough council leaders in Leicestershire have written to Leicestershire MPs to ask them to support proposed changes which would give district councils greater powers.

The House of Lords passed an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to enable district councils to become full constituent members of a Combined County Authority CCAs). This amendment would enable district councils to have voting rights within CCAs alongside county and unitary authorities.

In a joint letter from all the leaders of the seven Leicestershire district and borough councils dated 15 August 2023, the leaders said: “We see this amendment as vital to ensuring the success of the levelling up agenda and Combined County Authorities. We share the desire to bring about devolution but think that the power if at a county level would feel a considerable distance from our communities. We believe it is essential that district councils are properly empowered to ensure a strong connection between communities and decision making.”

Cllr Phil Knowles, Leader of Harborough District Council, said: “This amendment is just as crucial for district councils as it is for our local residents. District councils are the tier of government that is closest to local communities – they manage and deliver services that are at the core of levelling up, including housing, planning, economic development and the environment. We are asking our MPs to support us and our important role by retaining the amendment proposed by the House of Lords.”

The council leaders have offered to meet with Leicestershire MPs to discuss the amendment in person.

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill is in the final stages in the House of Lords and it is anticipated that it will reach Royal Assent in early autumn 2023.