Greens call for greater transparency as ‘secret’ plans for ‘super cross-county authority’ emerge

The Green Party last night condemned Exeter Labour’s for backing plans which place the ill-fated Hinkley C nuclear power station at the heart of an economic growth plan for the City. Speaking on the panel at the city’s cultural hustings Diana Moore said:

“It is very disappointing that Exeter Labour have backed Tory Councils and the Local Economic Partnership in a plan to build the most expensive building on earth at £18bn in an unviable project which won’t guarantee local jobs.”

The plans are part of the government’s new devolution agenda which would see councils in the region grant more power over spending decisions to unelected representatives from the Local Economic Partnership (LEP) and a controversial new ‘Combined Authority’. The proposed Authority would have wide ranging powers over Health and Social Care, infrastructure and house building across Devon and Somerset.

Diana Moore, who is lead Green candidate in St David’s ward, says:

“This plan for a new combined authority covering Devon, Plymouth, Torbay and Somerset has quietly received the backing of both Labour and the Conservatives in Exeter. It is another example of how important decisions are being made without the involvement of local people. 

“It is extraordinary that the City Council have entered into an agreement to put in place a large new combined authority and give the unaccountable LEP more influence over planning and spending decisions, without finding out if the people of Exeter wanted to enter into such an arrangement. An absence of openness and transparency is sadly all too common within the Labour-led council and the Tories’ top-down model of devolution is so very different to the kind of genuine devolvement of powers that local communities and Greens want to see.”

Diana Moore is calling on the newly elected council on May 5th to call in the plans and engage in genuine consultation. She concluded:

“Green Councillors will challenge plans that are cobbled together behind closed doors and we will work hard to ensure people in Exeter are properly involved in major decisions that affect them.”

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