Essex CC leader David Finch has urged communities secretary Sajid Javid to make clear a ‘core offer’ on devolution available to all councils without specific governance changes being required.
In a letter to Mr Javid, Cllr Finch (Con) said: “We have been a long standing advocate for more localised decision making, but as the devolution agenda has developed we have seen a focus on major cities, with uncertainty in others.
“It’s vital we do not end up with a divided country where some people have greater control over issues than others.”
He said Essex had seen “a unanimous desire to work towards a deal”, but this had been hampered by uncertainty about whether the county would be forced to accept an elected mayor.
Cllr Finch said there should be a ‘core offer’ of devolution to local government available to all, and that new governance mechanisms should be required only for those interested in an ‘extended offer’.
Devolution debates in ‘Greater Essex’ have at times been complicated by the interest of unitaries Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock BCs in a separate deal for the urban area along the north bank of River Thames, although the two unitaries are also working alongside the other Essex councils on proposals for the wider county.