Rugby Borough Council says no to Combined Authority shadow board - but will consider options

Cllr Michael Stokes,leader of Rugby Borough Council
Cllr Michael Stokes,leader of Rugby Borough Council

Rugby Borough Council has voted not to join the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority’s shadow board after the leader said details of the set up were ‘lacking’.

At a special meeting of the council yesterday (Thursday October 8), councillors voted to explore all available options that may see new devolved powers from Government.

The council will decline an invitation to join the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority’s shadow board as a non-constituent member.

The council also agreed to review its position once the final structure and constitution of the proposed West Midlands Combined Authority has been confirmed, and explore other opportunities for working in partnership with local authorities if and when such opportunities arise.

Cllr Michael Stokes, leader of Rugby Borough Council, said clarity was required on a wide range of issues before the council could make an informed decision on whether to join the proposed combined authority.

“Details on how a West Midlands Combined Authority would affect and, more importantly, benefit the people of Rugby are still sadly lacking,” Cllr Stokes said.

“In particular, I remain concerned about the lack of information on voting rights for a non-constituent member, the lack of detail around redistribution of finances such as business rates, and the short timescales we have been bound to which have not enabled us to consult fully with those we represent.

“I remain committed to partnership working wherever a clear benefit to the people Rugby can be established and will play an active role in discussions around any viable opportunity that may arise.

“When we have all the options in front of us and can weigh up the potential benefits - or downsides - we can then consult and make a fully informed decision.”

Cllr Stokes added: “We would not truly be representing the people if we are unable to clearly understand all of the pros and cons.”

The council also agreed at yesterday’s meeting to fully consult with residents before taking a decision on whether to join a combined authority.