Rail power to councils plan welcomed

Blackpool Town Hall and (below) council leader Simon Blackburn.
Blackpool Town Hall and (below) council leader Simon Blackburn.
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Plans to devolve powers to manage rail franchises to local councils have been greeted with “cautious optimism”.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport supporting the proposals, Lancashire County Council bosses said locally managed rail could boost the economy, and highlighted how the area’s authorities are already working well with the industry.

But Blackpool Council says it has not yet made any decision on the idea.

Coun John Jones, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We are cautiously supportive of the move for a partnership of councils in the north of England to have control over the rail franchising system for the region.

“A devolution of decision making to a more local level is to be welcomed in principle provided the Government do not seek to disadvantage councils in the north by removing funding from the franchising operation.

“We will make a final decision on whether or not to formally support the devolution of rail franchising to the north once the full offer from Government is clear.”

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