England

Bath, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils to decide on devolution deal

Chancellor George Osborne delivering budget speech March 2016 Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption The £1bn devolution deal was set out during the budget speech in March

Three councils in the West of England are set to decide whether they want to accept the government's offer of a devolution deal.

Bristol City, Bath and North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils will vote on the issue later.

Earlier this month, North Somerset voted against the plan, saying the deal was "not attractive enough".

Some councillors have told the BBC that due to the uncertainty over Brexit, the deal and funding pledge may not happen.

Metro Mayor

The funding may not be realised if the country slides into recession or, if a general election is called a new government may not honour the offer, councillors have said.

The deal, made in the Chancellor's March budget, includes creating a regional mayor, sometimes referred to as a Metro Mayor.

The councils would be given more power over key areas such as transport and roads planning, as well as housing and would receive £900m over 30 years.

If all three councils accept, they will need to renegotiate the deal as it was based on a four-council agreement.

North Somerset Council declined the offer earlier this month, fearing it would add a costly layer of bureaucracy into decision-making.

Some parish councils and residents under the local authority also said they were worried it could be a return to the former Avon authority with places like North Somerset overlooked for the needs of the larger cities.

All three councils are holding cabinet and full council meetings from 15:30 BST to decide on how to proceed.

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