Derbyshire County Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council have been working with the Government on devolution plans including a package of local powers and funding worth £1.14 billion, from 2024.
£18m of funding is currently being offered to Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham as part of early investment to the area during devolution negotiations, and is not dependent on devolution proposals going ahead.
The latest funding amount of £9.9m has now been approved and will help the councils carry out retrofit work on homes to make them more energy efficient.
Homes across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire will benefit from the scheme, which will specifically target those with poor energy efficiency ratings, the most poorly insulated and low-income households.
Other programmes affecting Nottingham and Nottinghamshire which have already been approved, and are underway or completed, include:
- £2m for a new long-term private rental scheme to address homelessness in Nottingham City and Derby City and reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for temporary housing.
- £1.2m for new gigabit broadband for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham. It will mean that an extra 118 rural public sector schools and libraries will be connected to gigabit broadband. The scheme is expected to go live by March 2024.
- £1.5m for a new growth through green skills. The investment will enable the creation of a new £5.4m flagship skills centre and low carbon demonstrator in the region, to be operated by West Nottinghamshire College, as well as two electric minibuses for getting students to and from the site, to support the growth of a future low carbon economy as we work towards net zero.
Funding hasn’t been the only benefit drawn in through devolution; with the East Midlands securing one of just 12 new Investment Zones being created across the UK.
The low tax Investment Zones are being introduced to boost growth in areas outside London and will be clustered around universities and research centres. Each zone is to get £80 million of support over five years, with tax incentives to attract businesses.
Devolution would mean a new guaranteed funding stream for our region of £38m a year over a 30-year period. Covering Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham, the devolved area is home to around 2.2 million people, making it one of the biggest in the country.
The devolution deal includes an extra £16m 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 local communities.
A regional mayor would lead a new combined authority, which would include representatives from existing 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.
Devolution 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.
Now the four councils have formally backed the plans, and agreed on a final version of the proposal, it means new local powers and funding to improve the environment, skills training, transport, housing, and the economy could be in place as soon as next year.
For that to happen, new legislation is needed, so a new form of Combined Authority can be created. With new legislation in place, proposals for devolution could be sent to the Government for approval and Royal Assent, meaning that devolution in the East Midlands could be a reality from spring 2024, with the first ever election for a regional mayor taking place in May 2024.
For more information, about devolution please visit www.eastmidlandsdevolution.co.uk.