Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire council leaders submit devolution bid

September 14, 2015 11:29 am

Council leaders in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire  on September 4 submitted a joint bid to Government for the devolution of more economic powers and much greater control over their own affairs – with the backing of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

It is believed the groundbreaking deal would place the East Midlands firmly on the Westminster map and at the front of the queue for jobs, growth and skills.

It would also place the area, which includes the Core City of Nottingham, on a par with Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands.

D2N2’s Devolution Prospectus

The final detail of the bid is still subject to ongoing negotiation but will include new powers to generate income for major infrastructure projects. It also calls for more say over jobs, skills, housing and transport projects.

One of the Government’s conditions for devolving significant powers includes a directly elected mayor.  While this is challenging for many, it was agreed that it needed to be seen in the light of the prize that was on offer.

All 19 Councils in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, supported by business and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (which promotes economic growth in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire), have shown their support for the idea of regions having greater control over their own affairs and being able to help local economies to thrive.

In a joint statement, Councillor Anne Western, Chair of the D2 Joint Committee, and Councillor Graham Chapman, Chair of the Nottinghamshire Economic Prosperity Committee, said: “We submitted our devolution bid to Government today after an agreement from the leaders of the councils.

“The potential benefits to local people are substantial. It would place Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire at the head of the queue for skills, growth and economic development.

“We all know that some of the conditions are challenging but the size of the prize means that we can’t afford not to be at the table.  The important thing now is to keep talking and negotiating so we can secure the best possible deal for the people of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.”

The Government deadline for devolution bids nationally was Friday September 4.

The D2N2 area bid includes all 19 local authorities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, and has been heavily backed by the D2N2 area’s businesses and the D2N2 LEP.

If successful the devolution deal for the D2N2 area could deliver:

  • 55,000 new jobs by 2023.
  • Improved quality and quantity of homes across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – delivering 77,000 affordable new homes.
  • Better connected towns and cities through the creation of combined transport authorities covering Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
  • Improved frequency, integration and joint ticketing arrangements on public transport through London-style powers, as well as directly influencing improvements to motorways and major trunk roads in the area.
  • Increased potential for East Midlands Airport, the second busiest freight terminal in the country after Heathrow, to increase international trade and passenger transport.
  • More and better quality apprenticeships, tackling the root causes of long-term unemployment, and further reducing rates of young people not in education or employment.
  • Greater control over further education; to ensure all local learners and employers have access to the right, high-quality further education offer, matching the skills of citizens with those demanded by the employer.
  • Speeded up planning process, making it more flexible in response to the different needs of the local areas.
  • A smart infrastructure that future-proofs growth and prosperity with universal access to 4G and beyond, removing the digital divide facing those in vulnerable and rural communities.
  • A localised, smarter energy strategy which is more sustainable and greener. This will include looking at both how to reduce energy usage and improve the production of energy by working with the universities to look at the latest technologies.

Devolution Deals are being offered by Government to Combined Authorities (CAs), and the D2 and N2 areas are currently seeking to create two new Combined Authorities, covering Derby and Derbyshire, and Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, by March 2016. A CA is a statutory body created by two or more neighbouring local authorities to lead collaboration on transport, regeneration and economic development. By agreement with their constituent authorities, CAs can take on certain powers and functions previously held by constituent authorities.

Any new devolved powers would be held by the Combined Authorities with the first powers not devolved until 2017 at the earliest.

All those involved in the devolution deal are keen that there would be no unnecessary layers of bureaucracy created, agree that there will need to be a strong governance arrangement in place over any new devolved powers and are open to discussions with Whitehall on how that can best be achieved.

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