A new devolution deal for East Anglia has been proposed with more cash and two, instead of one, regional authorities.
The new deal published yesterday would deliver £300 million over five years for housing and £45 million a year for 30 years to increase jobs, provide better infrastructure and drive economic growth.
Negotiations with government have seen the funding on offer increase from the original March 2016 deal of £175 million for housing and £30 million a year for infrastructure.
The negotiations have also responded to the wide criticism of having one authority and elected mayor for the whole of East Anglia by proposing two ‘deals’, one for Norfolk and Suffolk and another for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Each deal would have a Combined Authority and a Directly Elected Mayor but there would be joint working across East Anglia to improve transport and other infrastructure.
Andy Wood, who has led negotiations with Government on behalf of council leaders and the LEPs, said: “The main focus of all our discussions has been to ensure we got the best possible settlement for the people of East Anglia. I believe what is on the table is one of the best settlements in the country.
“I believe the proposed deals represent a great opportunity for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
“Government has recognised the importance of East Anglia to the economy, and the different needs and opportunities of its town and cities.”
Government has been clear that all the region’s councils need to approve the proposed deals before it will formally agree them.
All councils and both LEPs will debate the matter before the end of June. If all councils and LEPs endorse the deal and the associated governance scheme relevant to them, public consultation will take place during July and August.
Views from public consultation are reported to the Secretary of State for him to consider before creating combined authorities and putting in place arrangements for mayoral elections in May 2017.
The main elements of the Norfolk and Suffolk deal are:
£25 million funding each year for the next 30 years (£750 million) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs.
£130 million over five years to support the building of new homes across Norfolk and Suffolk (including £30 million for Ipswich and Norwich). They say this will fund 10,300 homes.
Control of a £225 million guaranteed transport budget for four years
Control of an existing annual adult skills fund of about £20 million to ensure the training offer matches the needs of local businesses.
Control of an existing annual Apprenticeship of about £2 million Grant for employers
Greater control over who delivers transport services in Norfolk and Suffolk and how.
More control and influence over investment in key roads across Norfolk and Suffolk, ensuring maintenance and improvements can be prioritised locally, rather than having to compete with works nationally.
A commitment to providing superfast broadband and improved mobile phone reception in more communities, particularly in rural areas.
That the relevant councils will work with the NHS to bring together health and social care services to provide a more joined up, single service.
Relevant authorities and partners take a two-county approach to flood and coastal risk management.
For full details of the deals, visit www.eastangliadevo.co.uk