CALLS have been made for councils in Cumbria to re-open talks with the Government over a multi-million pound devolution deal.

Devolution deals involve a transfer of money and decision-making but can lead to changes in governance, such as an elected county mayor.

Cumbria’s negotiations came to a halt in March 2016 when a £450 million Cumbria bid was turned down with the Government offering £300 million over 30 years.

Labour-run authorities in Carlisle, Barrow and Allerdale all said no and it was also rejected by the Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition in in charge at Cumbria County Council, and Liberal Democrat-controlled South Lakeland.

The only councils prepared to accept were Tory-run Eden District Council and Copeland Borough Council, which is led by an independent mayor.

Eden Council leader Kevin Beaty (Con, Skelton) has claimed that the offer came with a Government pledge to provide further money down the line.

County council leader Stewart Young (Lab, Upperby) described the Government offer as insufficient and fears an elected mayor could add another layer of bureaucracy to county politics.

At a meeting of South Lakeland District Council in Kendal, Tom Harvey, deputy leader of the opposition, told the chamber that Mr Young is open to a fresh bid.

Mr Harvey (Con, Burton and Crooklands) called on council leader Giles Archibald to support such a move.

“In light of the county council being open to getting back around the table to hammer out a devolution deal, will you now look to commit to supporting this cross-party initiative by reconsidering your opposition to this important reform for this area’s future success and prosperity?” asked Mr Harvey.

Mr Archibald (Lib Dem, Kendal Town) indicated that he had not been made aware of Mr Harvey’s question so would respond in due course.