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Consultation on £1.14 billion devolution plans is launched

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A public consultation on devolution for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham has started.

The consultation takes place from Monday November 14 to Monday January 9, 2023 and is an opportunity for all the players in the territory to express themselves on the deconcentration proposals. It is open to residents, businesses, community and volunteer groups and other organizations in the area.

Leaders of Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council all signed up to work on a devolution deal on August 30 this year at Rolls Royce in Derby, following a Government announcement that a package of new powers and funding, worth £1.14billion, was available for the region.

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Since August, the councils have been working to agree on a more detailed consultation proposal, which includes more information on how decentralization works in our region.

The four councils have agreed to conduct a public consultation as the next step in the process, so that everyone has the opportunity to give their opinion on the proposal.

David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said:

“This agreement has the potential to make a significant difference and local people would see the real benefits of the investment with more and better jobs, housing, training and much more.

“For too long this region has not had the investment it needs and deserves – by working on an agreement we can start to solve this problem, but this is just the beginning, and I will ensure that we get our fair share and make the most of this funding.

“Most importantly, the deal would give us more control over our own region, where local people would have a say in the region’s priorities rather than decisions made in London. I look forward to hearing people’s views on the agreement when the consultation is launched. »

Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said:

“Devolution is about getting a better deal for Derbyshire and the East Midlands and getting a fair share for our region. It will bring us more money and mean we can make more meaningful decisions here, rather than in London.

“This agreement will create more and better jobs and training opportunities, improve the local economy, result in better transportation and housing, and accelerate our road to Net Zero. I encourage everyone to participate in the consultation and to give us his point of view on decentralization.

“A decentralization deal, if agreed, would be the start, not the end. We are determined to build on this agreement over time, as other regions have done.

Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said:

“It is great news that we are moving forward with devolution plans for Nottinghamshire and the wider region. I am really happy that we are making progress in this area.

“Decentralization can bring real benefits to local people, as it has done in other parts of the country. This will mean more funding for our region and the ability to make more meaningful decisions here, close to the people they affect, rather than in London, so they can be better tailored to local needs.

“This is an opportunity to create jobs, boost our economy, improve transportation, build more and better homes, improve our environment, etc., and we must seize it with both hands. I don’t want our region to miss a chance to make things better for everyone who lives and works here.

“Decentralization can help us to be more efficient locally, to better use public money and, above all, to improve people’s lives. This would lay the foundation on which we can build in the future, for the benefit of future generations.

“I encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and give us their opinion on the decentralization agreement.”

Chris Poulter, Leader of Derby City Council, said:

“The East Midlands has long been overlooked and held back compared to other parts of the country. Cities and counties in our region should have a bigger voice, and this decentralization agreement would give us the influence, funding and powers we deserve.

“Investing in this deal will bring many opportunities. We could see more jobs, better transport and housing, a greener environment and better value for money from the services provided to our people.

“The proposals we are consulting on are just the beginning, and we are determined to build on them over time. I encourage everyone to give us their opinion on the agreement by participating in the consultation.

Decentralization would provide the region with a guaranteed income stream of £38m a year over 30 years and cover around 2.2m people, making it one of the largest in the country.

If plans go ahead, it will mean a new regional mayor and it would create the first of a new type of combined authority for both counties and cities, which requires new central government legislation.

The new elected regional mayor, like those already in place in other regions, would represent the entire territory. The role of the mayor would be to address major issues affecting the entire region, to give a greater voice to the region and to take advantage of local knowledge and expertise.

As well as the £1.14billion, the devolution plans include a further £16million for new homes on brownfields and controlling a range of budgets like the adult education budget, which could be more responsive to the needs of people in our communities.

Deconcentration would mean that a future mayor and a combined authority could:

  • Work towards Net Zero and cleaner air with new low-carbon homes, retrofit existing homes with exterior wall insulation, promote the use of renewable energy, and protect and enhance green spaces, such as areas for wildlife and green borders.
  • Build on the region’s existing knowledge and expertise in green technology and promote the growth of a future low-carbon economy by investing in related skills training in colleges and other training institutions.
  • Implement and coordinate smart integrated ticketing and enhanced preferential fare systems.
  • Work with Homes England to build more affordable homes, using new powers to buy land and housing (with District and Borough Council consent).
  • Improve the economy of the region by developing new commercial spaces to maximize opportunities.
  • Work with national government on initiatives to address homelessness, domestic violence, community safety, social mobility and youth support.
  • Take advantage of economies of scale by using combined and decentralized budgets to deliver more value to taxpayers and more cost-effective services.

The four councils sent initial proposals to negotiate a combined decentralization deal in March 2022, after being designated as frontier areas by the government in February and then invited to apply for a decentralization deal.

The councils worked with the government to develop the details of the agreement, alongside discussions with district and borough councils, businesses and other stakeholders.

If the devolution deal is formally approved, the government will pass legislation creating a new combined authority for the East Midlands. The first election for a regional mayor for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire would take place in May 2024.

The regional mayor would lead the new combined authority, which would also include representatives from local councils, with decision-making powers and resources transferred from London to the East Midlands. Local businesses would also have a voice, along with other organizations.

The decentralization deal would not mean scrapping or merging local councils, which would all continue to exist as they do now and would still be responsible for most public services in the region. The mayor and combined authority would instead focus on broader issues such as transport, regeneration and employment in cities and counties.

More information on the consultation and a link to the online survey can be found online: www.eastmidlandsdevolution.co.uk/have-your-say

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