COUNTY Council leader Geoff Driver has clarified his views on local government reform in Lancashire.

He was responding to claims by Hyndburn Labour MP and general election candidate Graham Jones he wanted a county-wide all-purpose authority,

Cllr Driver last month wrote to the government questioning the viability of a unitary Pennine Lancashire council covering Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.

Cllr Driver said: "I am not convinced a Pennine Lancashire all-purpose council is sustainable.

"I do believe after a lifetime in local government that unitary authorities are the best.

"I want to see what is best for the people of Lancashire as a whole and believe a structure dating from 1889 has to change.

"I have long-supported a combined authority with an elected Mayor for the county with devolved powers and resources from Westminster as in Greater Manchester.

"I do not have a preferred alternative for the local government arrangements below that but I feel that they should be discussed by the leaders of all councils in Lancashire. All options should be on the table.

"I believe the government will only consider devolving key responsibilities such as transport and health to Lancashire if it has an elected Mayor."