A public consultation about devolution for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby, and Nottingham has begun.
The consultation is taking place from Monday 14th November until Monday 9th January 2023. It’s an opportunity for everyone in the area to have their say about devolution proposals and is open to residents, businesses, community and voluntary groups, and other organisations in the region.
The 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 30th August this year at Rolls Royce in Derby, following an announcement from the Government that a package of new powers and funding, worth £1.14 billion, was available for the area.
Since August, the councils have been working on agreeing a more detailed proposal for consultation, which includes more information about how devolution would work in our area.
The four councils agreed to go ahead with a public consultation as the next step in the process, so everyone has the chance to give their views on the proposal.
Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “It’s great news that we’re moving forward with devolution plans for Nottinghamshire and the wider area. I’m really pleased that we’re making progress with this.
“Devolution can bring real benefits for local people, as it has done in other parts of the country. It will mean more funding for our region, and the opportunity to have more meaningful decisions made here, near 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, enhance transport, build more and better homes, improve our environment, and more, and we need to grab it with both hands. I don’t want our area to miss out on a chance to improve things for everyone who lives and works here.
“Devolution can help us be more effective locally, make better use of public money, and most importantly, improve people’s lives. It would lay the groundwork for us to build on in the future, to benefit future generations.
“I’d encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and give us their views on the devolution deal.”
Devolution would provide the region with a guaranteed income stream of £38 million per year over a 30-year period, and would cover around 2.2 million people, making it one of the biggest in the country.
If the plans go ahead, it will mean a new regional mayor and it would create the first of a new type of combined authority for the two counties and cities, which requires new legislation from central government.
The new elected regional mayor, like those already in place in other areas, would represent the whole area. The role of the mayor would be to look at major issues affecting the whole region, give the area a bigger voice, and take advantage of local knowledge and expertise.
As well as the £1.14 billion of funding, devolution plans include an extra £16 million for new homes on brownfield land, and control over a range of budgets like the Adult Education Budget, which could be better tailored to the needs of people in our communities.
Devolution would mean that a future mayor and combined authority could:
- Work towards Net Zero and cleaner air with new low carbon homes, retrofit existing houses with external wall insulation, promote the use of renewable energy, and protect and enhance green spaces, like areas for wildlife and green verges.
- 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 at colleges and other training facilities.
- Set up and coordinate smart integrated ticketing and enhanced concessionary fares schemes.
- Work with Homes England to build more affordable homes, by using new powers to buy land and housing (With district and borough council consent).
- Enhance the region’s economy by developing new commercial space to maximise opportunities.
- Work with national government on initiatives to address homelessness, domestic abuse, community safety, social mobility, and support for young people.
- Take advantage of economies of scale by using combined and devolved budgets to deliver more value for taxpayers and more cost-efficient services.
The four councils sent initial proposals to negotiate a combined devolution deal back in March 2022 after being named as pathfinder areas by the Government in February and then being invited to apply for a devolution deal.
The councils have been working with the Government to develop details of the deal, alongside discussions with district and borough councils, businesses, and other stakeholders.
If the devolution deal is formally approved, the Government will pass legislation bringing a new combined authority for the East Midlands into existence. The first election for a regional mayor for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, would be 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 moving from London to the East Midlands. Local businesses would also have a voice, as well as other organisations.
The devolution 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 area. The mayor and combined authority would instead focus on wider issues like transport, regeneration, and employment across both cities and counties.
More information about the consultation, and a link to the online survey, are available online at www.eastmidlandsdevolution.co.uk/have-your-say.