Government is reneging on city deal commitments, say Lib Dems

Former Cambridge City Council leader, Cllr Tim Bick, who now leads the city's opposition Liberal Democrats, has backed the Council's rejection of the Government's 3 Counties Devolution proposal, accusing the Government of reneging on previous commitments it entered into in the Greater Cambridge City Deal.

Cllr Bick said: "We agree that this new proposal is not right for Cambridge or Greater Cambridge. It not only doesn't address the housing needs which are important to our area, but it represents a reneging on a key feature of the earlier City Deal for which I negotiated - raising the question: how can we trust this government? 

"Under the City Deal the governance of strategic planning and transport was to be brought together in a Greater Cambridge Combined Authority. If this more recent devolution plan goes ahead for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the more local and more strategic unit of Greater Cambridge is legally blocked and passed over. 

"Residents and businesses of this area are looking for more joined up local government over the important "Cambridge Phenomenon" together with the environment around it where people live. This would enable better leadership than we have today, which will not be helped by an extra, remote, complicating layer of government with its own elected Mayor. I have seen these things before even over smaller geographies and predict the much same - writ large - across the 3 counties: a continuous bidding war - over frankly not much - within a predominantly rural geography which has little or no reason for common cause. The continued success of Cambridge is taken as a given and everyone is far more concerned to grab a piece of it than nurture it and ensure it is sustainable for the wider benefit it provides.

"So long as Cllr Herbert does holds out for what we need, Liberal Democrats in the city will be in support."

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