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East Midlands of England to be handed devolution deal as UK Government keen on ‘taking decisions out of Whitehall’

30 Aug 2022 4 minute read
Council House and Exchange Buildings, Nottingham, England. Picture by Billy Wilson (CC BY-NC 2.0).

The East Midlands is to become the latest region of England handed a comprehensive devolution deal by the UK Government.

The initiative, announced by The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities on Tuesday, would see a Mayoral Combined County Authority in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and the election of a mayor.

The holder of the new role would be responsible for delivering local priorities including education, infrastructure and home building, backed by a £38 million per year investment fund, totalling £1.14 billion over 30 years.

The mayor would be granted compulsory purchase powers, the ability to designate mayoral development areas and establish Mayoral Development Corporations, similar to those seen in parts of London, to promote growth and build new homes.

The Mayoral Combined County Authority would have control over an adult education budget and the ability to increase control over transport infrastructure.

However, the new devolution model is dependent on parliamentary approval of the Government’s flagship Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and necessary secondary legislation, as well as a public consultation.

The Bill this week drew criticism from a group of cross-party MPs on the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee who said it lacks detail and does “little to reassure” that levelling up is “more than a slogan”.

Despite the criticism at the relatively early stage in the passage of the Bill, an election for the role of mayor is expected to take place in 2024.

Announcing the deal on Tuesday, Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark said: “The East Midlands is renowned for its economic dynamism and it has the potential to lead Britain’s economy of the future.

“For a long time I have believed that the East Midlands should have the powers and devolved budgets that other areas in Britain have been benefitting from and I am thrilled to be able to bring that about in Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

“I am impressed by the way councils in the region have come together to agree the first deal of this kind in the country, which will benefit residents in all of the great cities, towns and villages across the area of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.”

“Taking decisions out of Whitehall and putting them back in the hands of local people is foundational to levelling up and this deal does that.”

‘Fairer share’

The new East Midlands Combined County Authority would be granted control of over £17 million of additional funding for the building of new homes on brownfield land in 2024/25, subject to sufficient eligible projects for funding being identified.

A further £18 million has been agreed to support housing priorities and drive towards carbon neutrality in the area.

In a joint statement, Ben Bradley MP, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, Chris Poulter, leader of Derby City Council, and David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said the deal was “fantastic news”.

They said: “As leaders, we have all fought for a fairer share for our cities and counties, and a bigger voice for our area, to give us the clout and the influence we deserve, and to help us live up to our full potential.

“This deal would help make that a reality, creating more and better jobs through greater investment in our area, with increased economic growth, better transport, housing, skills training, and an enhanced greener environment, as we move towards being carbon neutral.

“These are what we all want to see, and we will work together for the common good of the East Midlands.

“We haven’t always had the same level of funding or influence as other areas, which has held us back. This is a golden opportunity to change that and put the power to do so in our own hands.

“There is a lot still to be agreed, and this is the beginning of the journey, not the end. We’re determined to build on this deal over time, as other areas have done.”

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One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 year ago

They are just openly kicking us in the baIIs at this point.
Give me a nudge when our timid people get fed up and want to start kicking back

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

Nice to see Westminster is finally getting the idea that its’ model of governance is an irrecoverable failure. If it is giving devolution to a mere REGION of England, they cannot roll it back in Wales and Scotland, two COUNTRIES with their own long established Parliaments.

1 year ago
Reply to  Fi yn unig

With a bit of luck, and a serious effort, England will shatter into a bucket full of mini states. Some will be led by Faragists types or JRM clones who seem to excite a perverse affection among the common herd. Others will be good old Labour party machine products and we know all about them too. Wales could emerge from this mess with a relatively balanced prospect so long as our political leaders dump their affection for virtue signaling and crack on with building on our strengths.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Former First Minister Caryn Jones once said he ‘feared’ Wales would become Independent through the back door if England decided on its’s own arrangements. Well it seems to be happening and I don’t care if it comes through the roof as long as we get it along with our cut of the taxpayers pot.

Lyn Thomas
Lyn Thomas
1 year ago

However this devolution is fairly pathetic, just over a billion over 30 years is chicken feed – it is devolution in name only.

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

This is a good move but proves the overt racism shown by Westminster toward Scotland and Wales.

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