Residents across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham will get the chance to vote for the first-ever East Midlands Mayor in May 2024, after councils gave the go-ahead to devolution for the region.
In a meeting held on 7th December 2023, Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council each approved plans to create the East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA), which will come into existence next spring.
The four councils have also agreed to the drawing up of new legal regulations needed to create this new authority.
EMCCA is set to bring in around £4 billion of funding for the region, alongside devolved powers for transport, skills and adult education, housing, the environment and economic development.
Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: “I’m proud we’ve taken this final and definitive step to bring the necessary powers and funds needed to improve the lives of the people of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.
“Devolved powers will result in better life outcomes for everyone: more investment in skills and jobs, and more control to deliver improved public transport.
“It will give the East Midlands a platform and powers to bring lasting benefits and change lives for generations.”
Plans for East Midlands devolution are similar to those already in place in other mayoral regions, like the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
The East Midlands devolution deal, agreed with Government ministers last summer, will see Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham benefit from a £1.14 billion investment fund. Other areas with devolution deals have been able to make their funding go even further and have greater impact by leveraging significant private sector investment.
A public consultation on East Midlands devolution, carried out between November 2022 and January 2023, showed strong support for the plans among local residents, businesses and community groups.
In October 2023, the Government announced around £1.5 billion in transport funding for the East Midlands Mayor.
Thanks to devolution plans, the East Midlands has also been invited to establish an ‘Investment Zone’, which will attract £160 million of support over 10 years, with tax incentives for businesses that will help boost economic growth right across the region.
It’s estimated that the East Midlands Investment Zone will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds in private investment, creating thousands of jobs right across the region.
The Government will continue to work with the EMCCA and other partners to co-develop the plans for the East Midlands Investment Zone, including priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, ahead of final confirmation of the plans.
£18 million has already been awarded to the area during devolution negotiations, which is being spent on improving local housing, transport and skills provision.
Further investment for the region would also be provided through annual Whitehall budgets and spending reviews.
The Government will now need take the proposed EMCCA deal before Parliament, as this is the first of a new type of combined authority and therefore requires new legislation.
If this is passed in the coming weeks, it would come into force by March 2024 – meaning the EMCCA will officially come into existence.
The inaugural election for the first East Midlands Mayor will take place on 2nd May 2024.