ELECTIONS for a Boris Johnson-style mayor for the Solent region are set to take place next year.

An announcement on a devolution deal had been expected in tomorrow’s Budget, but that is now set to take place later this year.

However council leaders have now struck a deal with the Government about the transferral of powers over roads, skills and housing to a new combined authority.

The area would cover Southampton and Portsmouth city councils, Eastleigh, Gosport, Fareham and Havant borough councils, East Hampshire District Council and the Isle of Wight Council.

In a statement released today, the leader of the Portsmouth City Council, Donna Jones, said: “I am pleased to confirm that we have reached the conclusion of negotiations with HM Treasury to achieve a Solent Devolution Deal.

“This is great news for the local area as it means more money will be spent in the Solent region improving roads and infrastructure for local people, rather than these decisions being made in Westminster.

“We were hoping for an official announcement tomorrow as part of the Chancellor’s Budget Speech but have now been advised the announcement will be made in June after the local elections.

“Securing tens of millions of pounds each year for our towns and cities will be one of the biggest investments the Government has made in this area in years.

“The Government will require a directly-elected mayor to secure the substantial funding, and every member of the public would have a say on who that person was through a public election in May 2017.”

The new authority is set to sit on top of existing councils, whose roles and responsibilities will not change.

The combined authority will receive funding currently allocated by Government to spend on economic growth and housing, and could be responsible for increasing business productivity, creating more jobs, boosting adult education and training, a transport budget and franchised bus services.

And it could also see the region keep all business rates generated in the Solent while losing current annual Government funding grants.

Each council involved will hold a public consultation and formal vote.