Latest News | 4 September 2023

Stakeholders meet with council bosses to discuss devolution plans

East Midlands Chamber
Derby City Council
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Local stakeholders have met with council bosses to discuss plans for devolution in the East Midlands.

Senior officers from Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham Council came together last month to provide updates to local leaders from a range of sectors as plans to give the region extra powers and funding gather pace and momentum.

Stakeholders representing a broad range of interests across the region, including business, universities and colleges, and emergency services, asked questions on a range of the deal’s elements, including transport, skills and adult education, housing, and net-zero.

Paul Simpson, chief executive at Derby City Council, said: “It’s important to recognise that our devolution deal is just the beginning of our aspirations for more powers and funding for the East Midlands.

“We’re focused on building on the deal, as other areas like the West Midlands and Greater Manchester have done, so it was fantastic to connect with local business groups, organisations and partners at our stakeholder event as we develop this ambitious vision.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive at East Midlands Chamber, said: “The East Midlands has historically received the lowest levels of public funding in England.

“Devolving decision-making powers over how funding is spent to local areas is an important step and a once in a generation opportunity to organise ourselves in a way so that it’s easy for government to provide us with the funding we need to grow our local economy, productivity and wealth.”

The stakeholder event, which featured a speech by Mark Rogers, the new interim chief officer for the East Midlands Devolution Programme, was held ahead of several major devolution milestones over the coming months.

For the proposed East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA) to come into existence, new legislation is required from the Government, which is anticipated to be in place before the end of the year.

Detailed devolution proposals would then be sent to the Government for approval, meaning that EMCCA could be a reality from spring 2024, with the first ever election for a regional mayor – covering Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby, and Nottingham – taking place in May 2024.

If the plans go ahead, the EMCCA – spanning two counties and cities – would be the first combined county authority in the country, with a new elected regional mayor at the helm, representing around 2.2 million people.

Devolution would provide the region with a guaranteed income stream of at least £1.14 billion, spread over a 30-year period.

More funding is expected to become available once the EMCCA is formed – so far, £18 million has been awarded to the area as early investment during devolution negotiations, which is being spent on improving local housing, transport and skills provision.

And thanks to devolution proposals, the East Midlands has been invited to establish an ‘Investment Zone’, which will attract £80 million of support over five years, with tax incentives for businesses to help boost economic growth right across the region.

Emma Alexander, managing director at Derbyshire County Council, said: “Devolution would unlock major benefits for our region, including extra powers and funding around a range of issues including housing, transport, skills, adult education and the environment.

“It is vital that we engage with key stakeholders every step of the way in this process, which is why I was delighted to see so many partners and colleagues in attendance at our event.”

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