The government is talking to councils across the UK about devolution.
Devolution is when certain powers and responsibilities are transferred down from central government to a particular region.
This could mean that more important decisions, on things like housing, transport and major infrastructure projects, are decided locally rather than being imposed by government.
What’s happened so far?
In March, the Chancellor published an offer to 22 local authorities and one Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for East Anglia Devolution. That deal was to form an East Anglia Combined Authority covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
However, since then there have been extensive negotiations between and within the councils across the East Anglian region, which concluded that this initiative is best met with two combined authorities.
A Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution proposal
Building on the original government devolution deal, council and LEP leaders have now proposed two deals for East Anglia – one covering Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and one for Norfolk and Suffolk (but with clear links between these two deals on matters such as transport and skills) – forming one overall East Anglian deal.
A proposal to form a Combined Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was submitted to government. Our bid to government included:
- a new £20 million annual fund for the next 30 years (£600 million) to support economic growth, development of local infrastructure and jobs
- £170 million for affordable housing, including £100 million for affordable, rent and shared ownership – particularly in response to housing issues in South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City. There is a proposed specific £70 million fund to meet housing needs in Cambridge, which Cambridge City Council has indicated would be spent on new council housing
- supporting the delivery of the Wisbech Garden Town and the Wisbech-Cambridge rail connection
- providing new homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including affordable homes in Greater Cambridge
- transport infrastructure improvements such as A14/A142 junction and upgrades to the A10 and the A47, as well as Ely North Junction. It would also support development at Wyton and St Neots
- rail improvements (new rolling stock, improved King’s Lynn, Cambridge, London rail)
- investment in a Peterborough University with degree-awarding powers
- a local, integrated job service working alongside the Department of Work and Pensions
- co-designing with government a National Work and Health Programme focussed on those with a health condition or disability, as well as the long-term employed
- integrating local health and social care resources to provide better outcomes for residents
- devolved skills and apprenticeship budget - to give more opportunities to our young people
- working with government to secure a Peterborough Enterprise Zone – attracting investment from business, leading to more and better quality jobs for residents
- working with government on the continued regeneration of Peterborough City Centre
- this proposal to be the first in a series of proposals which devolve more funding and powers from government to this area.
Government has made it clear that to secure a devolution deal there must be a combined local authority with a single person in charge, usually referred to as a mayor.
The combined authority would mean sharing certain powers to make sure decisions benefitted the whole area. How this is governed would be up to the authorities set out in the deal.
Members at the Full Council meeting on 29 June 2016 held lengthy debates throughout the evening. They finally came to an agreement that they would support the principle of going out to consultation with residents on the proposals. A consultation took place from Friday 8 July to Tuesday 23 August 2016.
The results of the public consultation were issued on 7 September 2016:
- Full Report to Government
- Letter to the Secretary of State
- Online Survey Results
- Ipsos MORI Poll Results
- Stakeholder Submissions
- Official Responses From Parish Councils
On Wednesday 16 November, members voted to accept plans for devolution.