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22.11.16

Norfolk and Suffolk devolution deal latest to be withdrawn

Communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid has withdrawn the Norfolk and Suffolk devolution deal after it was rejected by local councils.

Initial plans for an East Anglia devolution deal were rejected by Cambridgeshire County Council, leading the government to make two separate offers, one covering Suffolk and Norfolk and one covering Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The deal, which would have seen the region form a combined authority under an elected mayor, involved £750m funding over 30 years to support economic growth, the development of local infrastructure and jobs; £130m for housing; and devolved transport and skills powers.

But the deal was hit by the withdrawal of four local councils – Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Breckland and North Norfolk. At a special meeting on 17 November, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council effectively killed off the deal by voting 44 to 14 against it.

However, the deal received the backing of Broadland and South Norfolk councils at meetings on the same night.

In a statement released today, Javid said the vote was “disappointing” and meant that Norfolk and Suffolk residents would “no longer benefit” from the government’s offer.

He added: “This government remains 100% committed to devolution but we respect this local decision.”

Javid withdrew the North East Combined Authority devolution deal in September after it was rejected by four out of seven member councils. Lincolnshire County Council also rejected the Lincolnshire devolution deal last month.

Cambridgeshire County Council is currently debating the proposed £800m Cambridgeshire and Peterborough devolution deal, which could become the first non-metropolitan devolved area in England.

Seven separate authorities have already voted on the deal, with Huntingdon District Council, Fenland District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, and Peterborough City Council voting to accept it. Cambridge City Council is still to debate the deal.

In a recent interview with PSE, Jo Miller, the new president of Solace, said the UK devolution process at times feels more like “de-centralised administration”.

(Image c. Andrew Matthews from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

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