Fareham Labour Party Proposes Solent Joint Authority

Fareham Labour Party has expressed support for a Solent Combined Authority. Two separate consultations have recently closed regarding the devolution of powers in the Hampshire area – Serving Hampshire and the Solent.

Labour’s spokesperson Richard Ryan stated: “We have carefully reviewed the joint proposal put forward by Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, as well as the suggestions from Hampshire County Council. We believe that a combined Solent Authority, stretching from Portsmouth to Southampton and including all the councils in-between will provide the best future for the area.

“Important matters such as the future of the M27 and improving Junction 10, over-subscribed schools and GP waiting times are examples of such issues that require the kind of co-operation that we believe can only be achieved under a combined Solent authority.

More needs to be done to promote Fareham’s position on this matter. At the moment, Roy Perry and Hampshire County Council are dragging their feet. By refusing to commit to any solid plans they are holding smaller councils like ours hostage to the will of the Hampshire authority.”

Fareham Labour Party submitted the following view to Hampshire County Council’s consultation which closed on 20th September:

Fareham Constituency Labour Party believes that local decisions about how we live should be determined as closely as possible to the people affected. Our view is that Hampshire County Council is too ‘distant’ to residents and we need local decision made by more local authorities.

The options given in the Hampshire consultation don’t meet the aspirations of local people.

  • A whole county unitary authority would make the situation worse as this would remove district councils. If we look at other counties such as Cornwall we see that that county has to also have parish or town councils to help administer local functions. Fareham for example doesn’t have parish councils.
  • Two unitary councils would, we believe still be too remote from voters.
  • The third option of unitary councils for North Hampshire, Greater Portsmouth & Greater Southampton would still create remote authorities.

We believe the only practical reorganisation for our area should be a ‘Solent’ Strategic Authority with a metro mayor. We see this authority comprising of: Southampton, Eastleigh, Fareham, Portsmouth, Havant and IoW. This option would give the advantage of keeping District Authorities which already work closely with local residents plus bringing services such as education and social service much closer to the people receiving them. This option would follow other areas such as Greater Manchester where the strategic authority has received more powers and finance from central government. This would bring more devolved services closer to local people.