Cambridgeshire and Suffolk separated in new East Anglia devolution deals

A new agreement has been sought in the East Anglia devolution deal, with proposals being published for two separate deals.

The new deals, worth £1.3bn, will create two separate East Anglia Combined Authorities, chaired by elected mayors, one for Suffolk and Norfolk and one for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

In addition, the two authorities will receive a £300m ring-fenced housing fund.

The government initially proposed a single devolution deal for the whole region, but this was rejected by Cambridgeshire County Council, with Labour’s Cllr Ashley Walsh calling it “a shotgun wedding” between counties with few common interests.

The proposals were also criticised by local MPs for trying to impose a single governing body over too wide an area and for being implemented without consultation.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils have until 1 July to discuss the new deal, while Norfolk and Suffolk are discussing a similar proposal with the government.

If the deals are approved, elections for the two new mayors will be carried out in May next year.

Cllr John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, told the Peterborough Telegraph: “I, along with leaders from across East Anglia, believe that two deals is the best way to get the most out of the devolution process.”

In both local authorities, power over a £100m housing and infrastructure fund and planning and transport plans will be devolved directly to the mayor.

The combined authorities, in combination with their local LEP, will receive control of a £20m a year growth fund and adult education and skills, with the possibility of further powers being devolved in the future.

The National Work and Health Programme for those with health conditions and disabilities and the long-term unemployed will be carried out by a single Employment and Skills board covering both authorities.

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