Posted by: Belinda Hargreaves
Fri 3rd November 2023
The proposed formation of East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA) has moved one step closer to reality after key legislation was approved in Westminster.
We last reported that Derbyshire County Council voted to press ahead with the plans at a meeting in March of this year.
Now the authority has announced that: “The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has been granted Royal Assent after completing its passage through Parliament, paving the way for the creation of the EMCCA and the region’s very-first Mayoral elections next May.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council further explained: “We will now decide along with Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council and Nottingham City Council on whether to move forward with devolution plans, with decisions expected before the end of the year.”
If moved forward, the East Midlands devolution deal, agreed with Government ministers last summer, would see Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Nottingham benefit from £1.14 billion of funding to invest in local projects related to transport, education and skills, housing, the environment and economic development.
Leader of Derbyshire County Council, councillor Barry Lewis, said: “This is a key milestone on the road to agreeing plans to bring in £38 million a year for the East Midlands and move major decision-making to the people who best know our communities, rather than Westminster.
“It’s about improving the lives of people across our region by bringing more and better jobs, opportunities for training, better transport and housing, improving the local economy and accelerating our route to Net Zero.
“But that’s just the start. If this deal is agreed, we’re determined to build on it over time as other areas have done, bringing further benefits for our residents in the future.”
Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “This is truly a milestone moment in the quest for devolved powers for our region. Now we know this is definitely happening, and we’ve secured more powers, local control, funding and independence from central government to affect real change in the East Midlands. That’s fantastic news.
“In truth though, it just confirms the start of the journey. The end game is delivering outcomes like better transport, quality jobs and new training opportunities for local people.”
Leader of Derby City Council, councillor Baggy Shanker, said: “Devolution will bring much-needed funding to Derby and the wider region, especially with so many of our residents experiencing the cost-of-living crisis.
“It’s also important that more decisions affecting the region are made by locally elected representatives, so I welcome the news that plans for an East Midlands Combined County Authority are taking another step forward.”
Leader of Nottingham City Council, councillor David Mellen, said: “This is positive news and allows us to move forward with devolution plans which will make a significant difference to people, both in our city and the wider region.
“More investment and the power to make local decisions on how money is spent would lead to better jobs, housing and training opportunities. Our region has been underfunded for too long and I will work to make sure we get our fair share of funding and maximise its potential.”
The Derbyshire County Council spokesman further explained the devolution plans: “The powers and funding will be held by the proposed East Midlands Combined County Authority, for which there will be an elected mayor from May 2024, and is presently being steered by the elected leaders from the two city and two county councils which signed the deal.
“Representatives from district and borough councils, alongside wider partners from business and other sectors, will further support the organisation’s development and governance.
“Devolution plans for the East Midlands are similar to those already in place across other mayoral regions like Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.
“If the plans go ahead, the EMCCA – spanning two counties and cities – would be the first combined county authority in the country, with a new elected regional mayor at the helm, representing around 2.2 million people.
“More funding is expected to become available once the EMCCA is formed – so far, £18 million has been awarded to the area as early investment during devolution negotiations, which is being spent on improving local housing, transport and skills provision.”
They continued: “Earlier this month, the Government announced around £1.5 billion in transport funding for the East Midlands Mayor, who would be in place from May 2024.
“Thanks to devolution proposals, the East Midlands has been invited to establish an ‘Investment Zone’, which will attract £80 million of support over five years, with tax incentives for businesses to help boost economic growth right across the region.
“Further investment to boost local projects across the region would also be provided through annual Whitehall budgets and spending.”
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