Today, in the Commons, during Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Oral Parliamentary Questions, Rayleigh and Wickford MP, Mark Francois, slammed proposed plans for a Combined Authority for Essex, which he summarised as a “ridiculous white elephant.”
In his question to the new Minister for Levelling Up, Jacob Young MP, Mark said:
“Some several months ago, Essex MPs met with his predecessor to talk about the possibility of a combined authority for Essex. We were overwhelmingly against it.
The people of Essex do not want this ridiculous white elephant. There is no demand from the people of Essex.
This is all being brought about by some highly ambitious Essex County Councilors and officers, who think they would do well out of it. As most people in Essex do not even know this is going on, will he and his boss meet with me and other Essex MPs to hear our objections?”
In response to the question, the Minister confirmed that he would be very happy to meet Essex MPs, on this subject. A combined authority would represent a fourth tier of local government in Essex above 1. Town/ Parish, 2. District/ Borough/ City and 3. Essex County Council itself. It would mean more politicians, more officers, and more bureaucracy and override local wishes, for instance, over the sensitive issues of planning and housing development.
As background, Essex MPs met with Jacob Young’s, predecessor Dehenna Davidson MP back in May when none of them actively supported the Combined Authority idea and most were opposed. Possible Picture Caption: Mark Francois MP slams proposed plans for a Combined Authority for Essex, in the House of Commons.