The leader of Burnley borough's Labour group has condemned the proposed devolution deal for Lancashire, as Blackburn with Darwen Council is set to approve the scheme on Thursday.

The agreement signed by the county's three upper-tier local authorities at the weekend aims to bring in an initial £20 million towards providing public services.

The so-called “Level 2” devolution deal announced as part of the Chancellor's autumn statement will see Lancashire handed control of the adult education and skills budget for the county, some strategic transport and compulsory purchase order powers.

A new Lancashire Combined County Authority will bring £20m for investment in “innovation-led growth” projects linked to carbon reduction schemes, the arrival of the National Cyber Force HQ in Samlesbury in 2025, and help create a Blackburn Tech Innovation Quarter.

The deal involving Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool borough's does not involve the creation of an elected Mayor as in Greater Manchester, Liverpool or West Yorkshire.

But it has angered several of county's district authorities, including Burnley and Pendle, who believe they have been frozen out of the shake up which will now go out to consultation.

On Thursday night, Blackburn with Darwen Council's policy council will be asked to rubber stamp the agreement.

The government hopes the creation of the new system will start next year and be in place by 2025.

Lancashire Telegraph: Councillor Mark TownsendCouncillor Mark Townsend

However, Cllr Mark Townsend, leader of Burnley Council's opposition Labour group, said: "This is a poor deal that lacks ambition and will weaken Burnley’s influence and ability to shape its own future.

"The council leaders pushing for decisions that impact Burnley to be taken in Preston, Blackburn and Blackpool say it’s about getting on the bus to get the devolution process moving, but it’s no good just getting on any bus especially when it’s going in the wrong direction and is stuck in the slow lane.

"We need a deal where more, not less, decisions are taken in the town and devolution needs to be a lot better than what’s on offer if levelling up is to mean anything to the people of Burnley.

"I encourage residents to make their feelings known in the upcoming consultation."

Cllr Phil Riley, Labour leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, has hailed the deal and said: "This is something which can lead to real improvements over time."