Senior Government officials were told that Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire are ready, willing and able to deliver on devolution during a high-profile visit to the area today.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Lord Heseltine was in the area to meet with the 19 Leaders of City, County, District and Borough Councils from Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire about ground-breaking proposals to devolve powers from central government to local people.
And there was a positive response to the Councils’ devolution prospectus, which outlines how a move to more efficient and effective local decision-making could help deliver the creation of 55,000 new private sector jobs by 2023 and 77,000 affordable new homes by 2020 across the two counties and cities.
Councils in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire have well advanced proposals for a ‘devo-deal’ in place, which would see the creation of a Derbyshire (including Derby City) and a Nottinghamshire (including Nottingham City) Combined Authority.
The new bodies would take-on further powers and resources for key economic levers like jobs, skills, housing and transport, in addition to their current responsibilities.
A devolution deal would give local people and local businesses greater influence over economic growth in their areas and improve the quality of life and prospects for local people.
Included in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire’s devolution prospectus are exciting plans for new ‘London-style’ powers to deliver better integrated public transport, have a direct influence over upgraded motorways and major trunk roads and increase international trade and passenger transport at East Midlands Airport.
Councillor Graham Chapman chairs the Economic Prosperity Committee – a new group made up of leading Councillors from City, County, District and Borough Councils in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire as the potential forerunner to the decision-making forum for the new Nottinghamshire Combined Authority.
He said: “We feel very encouraged by what we have heard from the Secretary of State today and feel we have made significant progress towards a final devolution agreement which suits Government, local authorities and most importantly of all, will have significant benefits for the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
“Our bid is unique in that it brings together a number of different types of local authority and people of all political backgrounds – all with the same, shared belief that local people and businesses can be better served by local decision-making. The message to the Secretary of State was clear, that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire stands together in that belief and has a shared determination to deliver devolution to the communities we represent.”
Councillor Anne Western, who chairs the D2 Joint Committee – the potential forerunner to the Derbyshire Combined Authority’s decision making body – said: “We have ambitious plans for growth, jobs and greater economic prosperity in Derby and Derbyshire but are being held back by decisions being taken by people in Westminster who have no connection with local people or understanding of local need.
“The Secretary of State was clearly impressed by our vision for devolution and how we were able to demonstrate the numerous benefits it would create for the people of Derby and Derbyshire. It was hugely beneficial for all the Council Leaders present to get clarity on the Government’s aspirations for devolution and reassurance that the Secretary of State believes in our bid and our passion and ability to deliver on it.”
Further negotiations over the final shape of the devolution deal for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire will now continue over the summer.