Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves
Tue 12th December 2023
Four councils, including Derbyshire County Council, have given the green light for a devolution deal which is set to form an East Midlands Combined County Authority.
Residents across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham will get the chance to vote for the first-ever East Midlands Mayor next May, after councils have given the go-ahead to devolution for the region.
Last week, 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.
Derbyshire County Council state that 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.
Leader of Derbyshire County Council, councillor Barry Lewis, said: “Our shared vision is for the 2.2 million people who live and work in the heart of the country to be better connected and more prosperous – addressing years of historically low investment in our region.
“Devolution brings much more control over our own area. Rather than many major decisions being made for us in London, local people would have a say in the region’s priorities. This is just the start and more benefits and funding are already starting to flow – such as the government’s recent announcement of £1.5 billion local transport funding for the new East Midlands Mayor.
“The creation of a new mayoral combined county authority will unlock the benefits of the East Midlands devolution deal and bring improved public services and a brighter future for our residents.”
Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: “I am proud we have 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.”
Baggy Shanker, Leader of Derby City Council, said: “I welcome this milestone moment for the city of Derby and the wider region. The East Midlands Combined County Authority is set to bring much-needed investment into our area and is the only way to get any additional funding, after years of austerity.
“The ambition is for our region to – rightfully – be on an equal footing with the likes of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, so I am encouraging the residents of Derby to have their say on how the devolved powers and funding should be used next May.”
David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “Nottingham has today taken a significant step towards an East Midlands Combined Authority. The extra funding this deal will bring will make a huge difference to the region. People in Nottingham will see real benefits with more investment in jobs, training and housing. It is vital that we continue to work closely with our neighbouring councils on this.
“For too long, Nottingham has not had the investment it needs and deserves, and this deal will start to address this. It also brings significant powers from the government into the region, giving us more control and allowing us to make better, more local decisions.”
Plans for East Midlands devolution are similar to those already in place in other mayoral regions, such as the West Midlands and Greater Manchester.
The East Midlands devolution deal, agreed with government ministers last summer, is set to see Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham benefit from a £1.14 billion investment fund. A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council further explained: “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, 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 ten years, with tax incentives for businesses that will help boost economic growth right across the region.”
The council spokesman continued: “It is 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.
“Government will continue to work with the proposed East Midlands Mayoral County Combined Authority (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.
“All four councils have now agreed to the creation of East Midlands Combined County Authority and the legal regulations around creating this new authority.
“The government will now need take the deal before parliament, as this is first of a new type of combined authority and it requires new legislation.
“If the legislation 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 East Midlands Mayor will take place on May 2, 2024.”
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