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Consultation on £1.14 billion devolution plans begins

Published: 15 November 2022

A public consultation about devolution for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Derby, and Nottingham has begun.

The consultation is taking place from Monday 14 November 2022 until Monday 9 January 2023 and is an opportunity for everyone in the area to have their say about devolution proposals. It is open to residents, businesses, community and voluntary groups, and other organisations in the region.

Our leaders and those of Nottinghamshire County Council, Derby City Council, and Nottingham City Council all signed up to work on a devolution deal on 30 August 2022 at Rolls-Royce in Derby, following an announcement from the government that a package of new powers and funding, worth £1.14 billion, were 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 4 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.

Barry Lewis, Leader of Derbyshire County Council, said:

“Devolution is about getting a better deal for Derbyshire and the East Midlands and achieving a fair share for our region. It will bring us more money and mean we can make more meaningful decisions here, rather than in London.

“This deal will bring more and better jobs and opportunities for training, improve the local economy, result in better transport and housing, and accelerate our route to Net Zero. I encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and give us their views on devolution.

“A devolution deal, should it be agreed, would be the beginning, not the end. We’re determined to build on this deal over time, as other areas have done."

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 would mean a new regional mayor and it would create the first of a new type of combined authority for the 2 counties and cities, which requires new legislation from central government.

The new elected regional mayor, like those who are 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, 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 4 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.

Find more information about East Midlands devolution consultation.